Friday, July 19, 2013

How Adjustable Saline Implants Work

by Robert N. Young, M.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

The adjustable saline implant was initially used in breast reconstruction to slowly expand the tissue after a mastectomy. It is now sometimes used for breast augmentation. The saline implant that is used has an external valve, the "fill valve", that is positioned under the skin near the incision. We usually put the incision in the armpit, but it can be made around the nipple or in the inframammary fold as well. The implant is filled up to the agreed size at surgery.

Adjustable Breast Implants
shown with fill valves

After the surgery, the patient can decide to adjust the size within about 50cc either up or down. At the office, your physician places a needle through the skin into the "fill valve" and the saline is either injected to increase the size, or withdrawn to reduce the size of the implants. After the patient is happy with the size, the valve is removed in the office under local anesthesia. At that point, no further "adjustments" can be made.

If you've heard about adjustable breast implants and want to know more about them, consider a visit to a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who can help determine whether they are a good option for you.