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Breast Surgery Procedures
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Saline Filled Breast Implants used by Honolulu Plastic Surgeon

A saline breast implant is a sac (implant shell) made of silicone elastomer (rubber), which is surgically implanted under your chest tissues and/or muscle, and then filled with saline, a saltwater solution, through a valve.

Breast implants have been used for breast augmentation for more than 40 years. Saline implants were long considered an inferior alternative to silicone gel-filled implants, which may look and feel more like a real breast than saline breast implants. Silicone implants were removed from the market by the FDA from 1992 to 2006 and saline (salt water) filled shells became an accepted alternative to silicone. Saline implants were approved by the FDA in 2000 and have always been available to women in the U.S. and worldwide.

Because of the FDA’s ban on silicone for approximately 15 years, women had to be enrolled in clinical trials to get silicone implants. As a result, saline implants have been the most frequently used implants in the U.S. for cosmetic breast augmentation. With the availability of silicone as of November of 2006, those statistics may change.

Saline breast implants vary in shell surface (smooth or textured), volume / size (number of cc), shell thickness, profile and shape (round or anatomical), and are even available as expandable implants. Most saline implants are single lumen (only one chamber), and filled during surgery. Pre-filled saline implants were available for a short time but are no longer on the market.

Pros and Cons: Saline implants are more likely than silicone to cause visible rippling and are generally firmer to the touch and less natural in appearance than silicone gel breast implants. Saline implants are filled during surgery and allow the surgeon to make adjustments in the fill during surgery. Overfilling past recommended manufacturer’s guidelines can cause too much firmness. Not filling the implants sufficiently can cause the implant to have a fold which could lead to a failure of the implant know as crease fold failure. In the event of a rupture of a saline breast implant, saline is released and the empty implant can be removed and/or replaced.

Read about silicone gel breast implants or move on to choose size…

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