Saline Breast Implants (graphic - ages 18 and up)
There are a variety of different types of breast implants. Salines and silicone gels, textured and smooth, shaped and round. Unlike silicone gel implants, salines aren't filled by the manufacturer, they're filled by the plastic surgeon. Using a sample saline implant on a bloodless blanket let's see how it's done. First all the air is removed. If we had a patient, we would now insert the empty implant. The implant is filled with sterile saline straight from an IV bag. Then we pull out the fill tube and press the valve cover into position. You can see that the saline implant on the right is completely full unlike the silicone implant next to it. That's because a saline implant is more likely to fold than break at lower volumes. While the new highly cohesive gels are meant to maintain their shape, saline implants can deflate like a balloon.
The saline that leaks out of a deflated implant is safe for the body but there are other issues to consider like having a deflation during a beach vacation and needing a second surgery. This is what a deflated saline implant looks like. What happens inside the body when a saline implant deflates? Let's say this balloon is a saline implant. The body builds a barrier of scar of a capsule which is represented by this plastic bag. If the implant breaks, the capsule can shrink and shrink to hug the much smaller implant shell. We remove the deflated implant. If a new implant can't fit into the shrunken capsule, the capsule needs to be cut, called a capsulotomy or it needs to be removed called a capsulectomy. We've just done a capsulectomy and put in a new balloon implant. Here are some real results. After what they've been through, patients with deflated saline implants often switch to silicone gels just as these women did.