Saline implants are silicone shells filled with sterilized salt water. The shells are delivered to your surgeon empty and then filled at the time of your breast augmentation, which allows for volume adjustments not offered with fixed silicone implants.
Women choose this fill type for its flexibility and added safety. In the event of a rupture, the salt water solution, which is found naturally in the body, can be safely absorbed and eliminated. The breast incisions will also be smaller and less noticeable than they would be with silicone.
Saline implant types
Saline implants come in smooth or textured and range in shell thickness, shape, and profile. Thinner shells feel softer but firmer than silicone implants, and the higher the profile the more projection.
Often chosen round, teardrop-shape is a less-common alternative that mimics the natural breast—with a sloping top and fuller bottom. It works best for women with little breast to no breast tissue, as it gives volume and shape in areas where there is none.
How saline implants are put in
While at a hospital or outpatient surgical clinic, you are given general anesthesia to make you unconscious. The surgeon makes a small incision along your breast crease (inframammary fold), nipple (areola), armpit (axillary), or belly button (transumbilical).
Unfilled saline implants are slid through the incision and placed in a pocket created below the pectoralis muscle or directly behind the breast tissue. They are filled, and adjusted up and down during surgery to reach your desired size.
The breast tissue is layered with sutures, and additional stitching closes the skin. Adhesives or surgical tape are placed over the incisions to provide a barrier against infection and to prevent the cuts from opening. Bandages or a post-surgical bra are placed for support and promote healing by reducing swelling.
Are saline implants right for you?
Saline implants are best for women who have lots of breast tissue. Women with little to none may not have enough padding to cover the implant, and this could result in an unnatural look and feel, as well as rippling, implant palpability and visible implant edges. Placing the implants behind the muscle minimizes these drawbacks.
Since saline implants feel firmer to the touch than silicone, you want to ensure you are comfortable with having firmer implants. But what you gain with saline implants is more upper projection and greater size options—up to 960 cc’s. The incision will also be smaller, so as the resulting scar heals and lightens, it is less noticeable and easily concealed.
Cost of saline implants
Saline implants cost between $1,000-$2,000 less than silicone implants. This is due to silicone implants being filled with a cohesive gel filler that makes them durable and longer-lasting.
Talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon about the overall cost of the procedure, as prices vary based on factors like geographical location and surgeon skill.