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Posted in  Breast   on  Thu 04/13/2017 by  Scott Ennis0

Are your Saline implants tired? Ready for an upgrade?!?

Saline to Silicone Replacement Procedure: When and Why to Get One

Plastic surgeons are often asked about the complexity and results associated with saline to silicone replacement procedures. There is a multitude of reasons why someone may be interested in this option, and it’s true that there are potentially several advantages associated with this common procedure. If you are considering saline to silicone replacement, please read further to learn more about why people choose this procedure and what you may expect as far as results.

Why Do People Opt for Saline to Silicone replacement?

You may be wondering why people would be interested in undergoing an additional operation on the same area of the body. The common reasons that people are interested include:

Some patients received saline implants before silicone was an option
Patients may be interested in a size and shape adjustment
Since it is a replacement procedure, there will be no new scarring
Rippling can be an issue with saline implants and may even develop years after having the initial procedure causing the implant to be visible or palpable.
Silicone implants tend to ripple less than saline
Silicone has a reputation of feeling more like natural breast tissue
Implants don’t last forever, and it may be time for a replacement anyhow
There may be visual issues, such as capsular contraction that need to be repaired
Some patients feel that silicone looks and feels better than saline, especially in thin women with little breast tissue
The breast may have changed after pregnancies

What to Expect During the Procedure

If you already have saline implants and are overall happy with them but just want to change them to correct the rippling or want to go bigger or smaller, the procedure itself should be relatively simple. If you have concerns about the appearance of your breast, then the surgery may be a little more involved to reposition an implant or correct a capsular contracture if they have become firm.

Incision site

There are typically three options for placement of silicone implants whether it is a first time surgery or a revision; around the nipple (periareolar), under the breast (inframammary), or through the underarm (transaxillary). Most straightforward revisions or a simple implant replacement can be performed through the previous incision. Most of Dr Ennis’ and the BECA patients have chosen to have their implants placed through the underarm using the transaxillary technique as it does not leave a scar on their breast.

If there are more significant issues that need to be corrected such as capsular contracture, implant malposition, symmastia, or bottoming out, the inframammary incision under the breast may be necessary to correct the issue.

Recovery Process

The recovery process for a straightforward replacement is not as involved as the first surgery. Patients should expect minor swelling and slight pain at the incision site, but overall the recovery should be relatively quick and many pateints can return to work in just a couple of days. However, if there is a need for additional revision, then the recovery process may be more complicated.

When to Consult Your Surgeon

As mentioned, this type of surgery is generally straightforward, but occasionally complications can occur. Here are a few warning signs that you should look out for:

Increased swelling or bruising
Green or yellow discharge from the incision site
Persistent redness around the incision site
Unrelenting pain that is not curbed by medication
Rash, nausea, headache or vomiting
Temperature over 100.4 degrees
Loss of motion
Persistent bleeding from the incision site

If any of the above occur, you should contact your plastic surgeon immediately.


Saline to silicone replacement is a common form of plastic surgery that can heed exceptional results. Whether you are seeking a revision for older implants or simply want a more natural appearance, this may be the appropriate option for you. Because each situation is unique, patients should consult with Dr Ennis or one of the BECA plastic surgeons about their options as well as the expected outcomes and risks.

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