Saline breast implants are the safer alternative to silicone breast implants, which were taken off the market in the 1990's because of a number of serious risks including leakage, rupture and what is now known as Silicone Implant Disease.
Saline implants, which are filled with saline solution after the silicone sacks that surround the implants are implanted into the body, don't come without risks of their own. Saline implants can still rupture, deflate and move. The up side is that when they do rupture, they release only saline into the body, as opposed to toxic silicone.
Because of the risks of rupture, infection and painful capsular contracture, which occurs when the tissue surrounding the implant tightens around the implant, follow-up surgeries usually have to be conducted. This leads to the most important thing to know about breast implants: though they are implanted in the body, they are never permanent; most will have to be explanted and replaced.
Although saline breast implants come in a variety of sizes, there are only two shapes available, round and tear-drop. The tear-drop implants are the most natural in appearance, but women wanting fuller-looking breasts often opt for the round implants.
Both shapes come in the expandable variety. For expandable saline implants, the fill tube is left in place after surgery and a small port is generally left in the patients underarm area. This way, patients can go back to see their doctor and have more saline injected into the implant when desired. This can be good if you're not sure what size breasts you'll be comfortable with.
As with any surgery, implant patients will need time to recover. At least 48 hours should be spent in bed after the surgery, and patients should take it easy for at least a week after surgery, making sure not to apply any pressure to the chest area. Ice packs can be used to decrease swelling.
Gauze used during surgery will be removed within a week after surgery and stitches will be removed after 7-10 days. Breast implant patients should sleep in an upright position for at least two weeks following the surgery, and should massage their breasts at least once a day for at least 6 months following the surgery to make sure that the breasts form a natural-looking shape.
Because of the risks associated with all breasts implants, women should consider all of their options before choosing surgery. There are a variety of breast enhancing products on the market today that utilize the body's natural systems to increase breast size and firmness. These include breast enhancing pills, creams and pumps.