Leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley has recently posted saline breast implants before and after photos on Snapchat to demonstrate their effects in terms of breast contour, perkiness, and symmetry.
Breast implants come into two types based on filler material: saline and silicone gel.
Most breast augmentations today are performed with silicone gel implants because of their more natural feel and contour compared with saline implants.
Saline implants, meanwhile, may cause feeling of firmness and/or rippling due to their filler material—i.e., saltwater solution. This is more pronounced when the patient lacks breast tissue or has low body fat percentage.
But since the patient shown in the photos has average-sized breasts, her saline implants are less likely to cause rippling and palpability.
To further minimize the aforementioned risks, Dr. Smiley created the implant pocket beneath the pec muscle, which provided additional soft tissue coverage. This implant placement has almost become the default mode when he uses saline implants; nonetheless, this remains beneficial even in patients having silicone implants.
In reality, the under-the-muscle implant placement, or submuscular technique, covers the upper half of the implant with muscle, while the bottom part is supported only by breast tissue and skin. This fosters a more teardrop breast contour due to the muscles pushing down the top of the implant.
Dr. Smiley says the upper pole fullness should have at least 30 percent of the breast volume; nonetheless, the exact volume distribution will depend on the patient’s specific goals. For instance, others may want the 45:55 ratio, which is believed to be the most natural or “classic” look.
During surgery, the patient’s saline implants were filled with 450 cc of sterile saltwater solution. These implants always come with a tube, which has a self-sealing mechanism when pulled out from the implant shell.
Since saline implants are rolled up like a cigar and propelled empty into the breast pocket they require a slightly shorter incision than silicone implants, which always come prefilled. Nonetheless, this aspect should not be the main reason for choosing one over the other.
Dr. Smiley says silicone implants remain more popular than saline implants due to the former’s more natural look and feel thanks to their cohesive filler material, which is less likely to cause rippling. Implant ripples are believed to compromise the device’s long-term stability.