Saline Breast Implants Pros and Cons By on January 27, 2014

Minneapolis Saline Breast ImplantsSaline breast implants offer a time-tested treatment for women seeking to increase their breast size. Saline implants consist of a silicone shell filled with a sterile saline solution. They come in different sizes, shapes, and profiles. In addition, the surface can be either smooth or textured.

As with any treatment, there are pros and cons to saline breast implants and your choice will depend on your anatomy and goals.

If you are considering breast augmentation, Dr. Gregory T. Mesna, serving St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Minnetonka, can provide you with information about saline breast implant pros and cons. By taking into account your anatomy and aesthetic goals, he can make recommendations tailored to your plastic surgery needs.


  • Noticeable Ruptures. The main advantage of a saline breast implant is that if it ruptures, the saltwater solution is harmlessly absorbed. In addition, because saline implants deflate, the rupture will be immediately noticeable. In comparison, silicone implants can have “silent ruptures” in which silicone leaks out of the implant shell unnoticed because the breast does not deflate. Even though the FDA re-approved the use of silicone implants in 2006, some women remain uncomfortable about the chance of a silicone leak.
  • Smaller incision. Saline implants are filled after being placed in the breast so the incision is smaller than for silicone implants, which are pre-filled. 
  • More incision choices. If you are concerned about the location of your incision, saline implants give you more choices than silicone ones. Incisions for saline implants can be made under the breast, in the armpit, or around the nipple.
  •  Less Chance of Capsular Contracture. All breast implants run the risk of capsular contracture, in which scar tissue tightens around an implant, causing discomfort and possibly a rupture. Saline implants have a lower rate of capsular contracture.
  • Adjustability. The size of most saline implants can be adjusted without additional surgery. At any time, your doctor can use a syringe to insert more liquid or take it out to adjust the implant size.  
  • No Follow-Up MRI Scans. Because a rupture in a silicone implant is hard to detect, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are recommended three years after surgery and every other year thereafter to check for leaks.  Saline implants do not require MRI scans.   
  • Cost. Breast augmentation using saline implants typically costs less than with silicone-gel filled implants.


  • Touch and Feel. The main disadvantage of saline-filled implants is their feel, which has been described as resembling a balloon filled with water. However, the touch can be improved by placing the implant under the chest muscle.
  • Shape. Saline implants tend to create a breast that appears more round or firm, particularly with a larger implant. Some women may prefer the rounder look, so this is not always a drawback. In addition, women who have moderate- to large-sized breast tissue may find there is minimal difference.
  • Ripple Factor. Saline breast implants are more likely to show rippling than silicone implants. However, rippling is less likely in women with adequate breast tissue. Placing the implant under the chest muscle also reduces rippling.


If you are considering implants, a personal consultation can help you decide if saline implants will met your needs. Please call to get information tailored for you.

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Dr. Gregory T. Mesna

Mesna Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center

Gregory T. Mesna MD, FACS, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of top-level experience. He performs a wide range of surgical and non-surgical procedures to enhance and rejuvenate the face, body, and breasts. He is proud to be affiliated with:

  • The American College of Surgeons (Fellow)
  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • The Minnesota Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons

You can request a free consultation at our office in Minneapolis, MN, by contacting us online or calling (952) 927-4556.

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