BREAST AUGMENTATION - SALINE IMPLANTS
There are two different types of breast implants used in a breast augmentation procedure- Saline and Silicone. Which option you choose depends on a variety of factors- the look you’re going for, the overall feel of the breast with the implant, etc.
Saline implants are implanted with an outer silicone shell that is filled with sterile salt water. They are placed in the breast pocket empty and filled once they are in the correct position. Saline implants are available to women age 18 or older wanting to enhance their breasts or do strict augmentation, or any woman wanting to have breast reconstruction surgery.
Saline implants pose similar risks to silicone implants, including:
Scar tissue- which can distort the shape of the implant (capsular contracture)
Changes in breast and nipple sensation
Leaking or rupture of the implant
Breast implants can also sometimes cause a rippling effect to the skin. Fixing this skin texture problem may require additional surgery or a change in size or type of implant used. Saline implants are known to cause this effect more so than silicone implants. Some saline implants have the advantage of being postoperatively adjustable via a remote injection port – this is commonly used in some types of breast reconstruction procedures to fine-tune the final implant volume over months before the implant port is removed.
The rupturing of an implant will have different impacts depending on if it is silicone or saline. If a saline implant ruptures, the implant will deflate. This can cause a noticeable change in breast size and shape. The benefits of saline implants upon rupture mean that your body will absorb the breast implant fluid without any major health risks. You will likely need surgery to remove the implant shell from your breast. You can have the implant replaced in the same surgical procedure.
Many women want breast implants to delay the effects of aging of their breasts. However, this is a misconception. Breast implants don’t prevent your breasts from sagging. If you notice they are starting to sag, you may need a separate procedure to do a breast lift. You can also do a breast lift in the same procedure timeframe as the initial augmentation.
Breast implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime. As many as 20 percent of women need to have their implants removed or replaced within eight to 10 years. With saline implants its recommended to change them routinely every 10yeras, as the risk of rupture or deflation is much higher after 10 years.
Implants can also impact breastfeeding a child. Women are still able to breastfeed even with an implant, but it can make for a difficult process for both mother and baby. Some women have no trouble breastfeeding with implants- while others can only pump or formula feed.
If you receive breast implants before the recommended age for annual mammograms, this may make the mammogram scan more complicated. Routine scans will require additional specialized views of the breast tissue to check for cancerous cells- which means a longer time in the scan and a potentially more uncomfortable time. When you go in for your mammogram, make sure you tell the radiologist you have implants and they will proceed accordingly.
After you receive your implants, the FDA recommends routine monitoring with ultrasound or MRI after five to six years initially- and then every two to three years after that. However, recent studies have shown there’s little data to support these routine screenings unless you have symptoms from your breast implants.
If you are doing a breast augmentation simply to change your breasts, it may not be covered by insurance. Insurance only covers implants when it’s medically necessary, such as reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy. The cost will also be a factor. Out of pocket costs for these procedures can be a few to several thousand dollars. You need to plan accordingly if you choose to undergo this procedure. Speak with your surgeon about potential financing options.
The overall breast augmentation procedure will be similar no matter which implant you and your surgeon choose to use. You will be placed under general anesthesia. You will likely need to stop eating or drinking sometime before your surgery to prevent any complications during or afterward with anesthesia. The surgeon will then place the implant either over or underneath the pectoral muscle. Where the implant is placed depends on different factors. Your surgeon will determine the best and most perfect placement for you.
Recovery may take a few days to a week. It’s best to plan accordingly and take off any necessary time you need from work to recover and heal. You will have a post-op appointment a few days after your surgery to look at your progress, take out any potential external stitches or drains, and talk about any concerns you may have regarding your initial healing process. Your surgeon will likely recommend avoiding exercise or lifting over a certain weight for a few weeks after surgery. Speak with your surgeon about when you can best resume these activities. You may be prescribed pain medication- or you can opt to take over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen instead. You will be groggy after surgery so you will need a companion with you to drive you home from your procedure and look after you for the first few days post-op.
Breast augmentation is a very common plastic surgery procedure. While there are risks, there are lots of benefits to looking and feeling your best.