Saline breast implants are filled with a sterile mixture of salt and water while their shell is made of solid silicone that is durable. However, there is no guaranty that the device can last a lifetime because it is still subjected to the natural wear and tear; for this reason, there is always the possibility of needing a revision surgery at some point in a patient’s life.
One advantage of saline implants over silicone version is that in case of a leak, they will not lead to inflammation of the tissue although patients have to remember that the affected breast will appear deflated right after the rupture. To correct this problem, the implant must be replaced with a new one during a revision breast augmentation.
However, saline implant has its shortfall; because of its watery consistency, it is prone to sloshing effect, which is attributed to the higher risk of downward displacement.
One way to prevent the sloshing effect is to overfill the implants with a saline that is more than the amount recommended by the manufacturer. Patients should remember that overfilling the implants does not lead to a bigger size but only firmer appearance.
For instance, implant manufacturer Mentor recommends its device to be filled with a maximum amount of 300 cubic centimeter or cc, but a plastic surgeon inflates it with 325cc. Aside from making the implant firmer, the technique has also been said to reduce the sloshing effect.
Another probable advantage of overfilling saline implants is that the need for a revision breast augmentation can be postponed. Because saline has a natural deflation rate of 1 percent every year, putting content more than the recommended amount of the manufacturer may help prolong the “viable volume” of the implant.
But one downside of overfilling saline implants is that it gives manufacturers the right to cancel the warranty of their products. However, it does not mean that they will automatically void it, but the technique gives them that option.
While overfilling saline implant is a common practice, underfilling its shell is not since it can lead to a wide range of problems including higher risk of rippling and implant failure; this is because the constant “rubbing” of the folds can affect the integrity of the device.
Another common problem with underfilled saline implants is the visible ripple, which is more of a concern if the breast tissue and fat is limited.