Saline Breast Implants

What are saline breast implants?

A saline-filled breast implant has a silicone elastomer rubber shell and is inflated to the desired size with sterile saline. Saline-filled breast implants vary in shell surface, shape, profile, volume, and shell thickness. The sterile saline used as a filler material should follow United States Pharmacopeia (USP) standards for Normal Physiological Saline (injection grade) that has a concentration of 0.15M and a pH of 7.2-7.4.1

Saline breast implants were first manufactured in the United States in 1968 by Heyer-Schulte Corporation, which bought by American Hospital in 1974, and in 1984, by Mentor Corp.

What are my options with saline breast implants?

There are a wide variety of saline breast implants available. Low profile, high profile, moderate profile, moderate plus profile, ultra high profile, smooth shell, textured shell, round shape, anatomical shape, and even adjustable saline implants are options.

What age must a woman be in order to get saline breast implants?

You must be 18 years of age to undergo elective breast augmentation with saline breast implants.

Do the shells of saline breast implants differ from the shells of silicone breast implants?

No, the shells for both saline breast implants and silicone breast implants have the same silicone elastomer shell, the only difference being the filler used inside the breast implant (saline or silicone). Saline and silicone breast implants are available in both smooth shells and textured shells.

If I get saline breast implants, will my breasts look fake?

Contrary to popular belief, saline breast implants do not give an automatic fake look. You can get the fake look or the natural look with either saline or silicone. This is something that should be discussed with your surgeon during your consultation. Implant shape, size, profile, and how the pocket is created all play very important roles in how you will look after your breast augmentation surgery.

Since “fake” and “natural” looks are subjective, the only way to communicate your desired “look” to your plastic surgeon is to show him or her photos of the look you’re trying to achieve. While you will never look exactly like the photos you show your surgeon, it does give your surgeon a visual idea of what you’re hoping to achieve.

Do saline implants ripple more than silicone implants?

Saline implants do have a tenancy to ripple more than silicone. However, if you are going underneath the muscle, there is less risk of visible rippling. If you have some breast tissue, that will also help to hide visible rippling. You may be able to feel some wrinkling of the breast implant if you lightly rub your fingers along the outer side of the implant, even if you can’t see it.

What does overfilling and underfilling saline breast implants mean?

Saline breast implants have a minimal fill volume and a maximum fill volume. For example, the Mentor Style 1600 size 300cc breast implant has a maximum fill volume of 325cc. This means that anything less than 300cc’s of saline would “underfilled” and anything over 325cc’s would be “overfilled”.

What are risks of overfilling and underfilling saline breast implants?

Underfilling a saline breast implant can result in friction on the implant shell. If the implant is not filled with the minimum suggested volume, the shell may wrinkle and rub against itself, which puts it at a much higher risk of rupturing. In addition, visible and palpable rippling of the shell is much more likely.

Overfilling the breast implant can put extra tension on the shell, which can also put it at risk for rupture. An overfilled saline breast implant is firmer, depending on the extent of the overfill. A 300cc implant filled to 450cc is going to be very firm. The more fill that is added, the firmer it will be.

Overfilling saline breast implants can also cause scalloping. This is rippling along the edges of the breast implant due to the excessive tension on the shell due to the amount of saline fill.

Scalloping of Overfilled Saline Breast Implants

Will the implant manufacturer void my warranty if I have my saline breast implants overfilled?

It is possible that the manufacturer will void your warranty if your implant is overfilled. This is particularly true if they are extremely overfilled. No breast implant manufacturer will guarantee that they will honor your warranty if your implants are overfilled, and again, this is particularly true in the case of implants overfilled by several hundred cc’s.