Saline implants offer several advantages. Firstly, because they are filled after being placed into the body, they are rolled up when inserted and can therefore be inserted through a smaller scar. Dr. Rapaport, who has pioneered the underarm approach for endoscopic placement of breast implants without any breast scar, typically can place saline implants via a scar that is less than one inch long and located in a preexisting underarm crease. Because this short scar can be hidden in a crease in many cases, even early after surgery there is a sense of there being no visible scar at all. Many patients both young and old derive great satisfaction from this fact.
Another advantage of saline implants can be summed up with the phrase, “peace of mind.” While it is very clear, according to the FDA, that there is no cause and effect relationship between silicone and any disease outside of the breast, knowing that one’s breast implants are filled with sterile salt water doesn’t even require that convincing. When a saline implant ruptures, the sterile salt water is absorbed by the body and there need not be any concern regarding health risks. Furthermore, the replacement operation with saline is typically extremely straightforward, especially if the woman with a ruptured saline implant presents soon after the rupture for replacement. When a silicone implant ruptures, usually the scar tissue surrounding the implant must be removed with any silicone gel that is in the breast pocket, and this is commonly a much more involved operation. To complicate the equation further, saline implants actually rupture more frequently than silicone. Each patient will view this information differently as they make their choices.