Saline Breast Implants

Saline implants are slightly more popular in the US than silicone gel implants. There are several types of saline implants. they differ with regard to (1) thickness of the basic shell (2) shape (3) smooth or textured surface (4) shape (5) volume (7) profile and (9) extent of elasticity. 


Silicone-gel implants or saline implants the right kind of augmentation is again based on various factors like the woman’s age, reason for augmentation, size, physiological profile and so on. A detailed discussion with the proficient and accredited health care giver can help you decide what the best option is. Women prefer the silicone-gel implants for its softness and near perfect simulation of the actual breast while the argument in favor of saline implant is that it looks almost real and is eminently durable.



FDA approval for saline implant is restricted to the type that is filled during the surgical procedure. Though pre-filled saline implants are available in the market for breast size/shape augmentation, they are yet to receive the nod of approval from FDA.   The filler that goes into the shell at the time of surgery should satisfy the USP standards for Normal Physiological Saline. USP stands for United States Pharmacopiea.


The concentration of this saline is 0.15M and it should have a pH of about 7.3. The volume of the saline implants varies from 120cc to 850cc. The implants are available in round and tear drop shapes.


The basic covering shell is made of elastomer. Elastomer is a polymer, either made of natural or artificial rubber. Implants use elastomer because of its ability to

  1. provide insulation

  2. resist deformity

  3. mould itself freely into required shape

Advantages of saline filled breast implant

  1. Saline implants are safer than silicone-gel implants; this is because if there is a rupture in the former, it can be harmlessly absorbed by the body, whereas a leak in silicone-gel implants leads to serious health issues

  2. The cost of saline filled breast implants is less expensive than silicone-gel filled implants. It helps a person plan for more affordable augmentation procedure.

Disadvantages of saline filled breast implants
  1. The risk of capsular contracture is higher in saline filled breast implants. Capsular contracture is the formation of excessive scar tissue around the implant, because of which the breasts tend to harden

  2. Saline filled implants tend to ‘ripple’ more than silicone-gel implants because of the liquid content

  3. This is specifically an issue for those women who have

a.  Had a subglandular (placement of augmentation under the breast tissue) positioning of the implant
b.  Had a basic reconstructive surgery
c.  Less amount of tissue of the breast to cover the implant
Who should opt for saline filled breast implant
Saline filled breast implants are ideal for women who opt for
  1. Breast enlargement or breast reconstruction

  2. Augmentation because breasts are out of shape or of reduced volume after child birth or due to old age


It is important to be aware of the fact that breast implants should not be considered by pregnant women and nursing mothers. 

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