Saline breast augmentation is the enlargement of breasts using saline-filled implants. The implants are positioned on the chest and then filled with saline to the patient’s desired fullness. This type of breast enlargement is widely approved, considered safe, and used around the world. Like all cosmetic surgeries, it has pros and cons that should be considered before undergoing the operation. There are also advantages and disadvantages to choosing saline implants over silicone implants.
Breast augmentation usually involves making a lot of decisions pre-surgery. With saline breast augmentation, the patient must choose the size, shape, and texture of the new implants. For example, both round and teardrop implants are generally widely available for purchase. Once these decisions are made and a payment plan is determined, the surgery can be scheduled.
A silicone breast augmentation typically differs a great deal from a saline breast augmentation. Saline-filled implants tend to feel unnaturally hard to the touch, while silicone implants better mimic the soft fat of natural breasts. Silicone implants are also pre-filled with gel instead of being filled after proper placement, affecting the size and location of the incision. With saline implants, the surgeon can make a smaller incision in a more discreet area, such as the underarm or belly button, then slowly maneuver the empty implant into place. Modern advancements in cosmetic surgery minimize the difference between these implants; for example, surgeons typically try to make saline implants feel more natural or better hide the incision of silicone implants.
Saline implants are not meant to last an entire lifetime, and eventually they deflate, returning the breasts to a shape similar to what the patient had pre-surgery. Generally, doctors advise the removal of the empty implant, though a new implant can usually be inserted during the same surgery. When deflation happens, whether due to trauma or everyday wear and tear, the implants are often covered under a manufacturer warranty. In this case, the person is given a certain amount of money toward new implants, though this amount rarely covers the entire cost of the implants and surgery.
The risks of saline breast augmentation include loss of breast and nipple sensation, scar tissue that affects the shape of the breast, and breast pain. Breast pain and loss of sensation are usually temporary but occasionally permanent. Sometimes additional surgery is necessary to reduce the size of the implant or move them into a more natural position.