The Saline Solution

According to Sydney plastic surgeon Dr Darryl Hodgkinson, saline breast implants offer some unique advantages. Lauren Alexander reports.

After many years of assessment of silicone gel implants since the 1992 moratorium in the USA, some surgeons are still circumspect about the safety of silicone gel implants in breast augmentation, according to Sydney plastic surgeon Dr Darryl Hodgkinson.

He believes that while some patients would benefit from the use of silicone gel implants, the majority of patients seeking breast augmentation can be satisfied with saline implants.

 

 

‘The shell of a saline implant is solid silicone and very little reaction occurs to solid silicone,’ he says. ‘The body’s reaction to silicone is directed towards liquid silicone because it has a different molecular weight. When free in the body it causes an inflammatory reaction, taken up by cells and transported to regional lymph nodes. There have also been reports of silicone being spread to other major organs. Although the “newer” breast implants contain cohesive gel silicone we must be circumspect as to what will occur when this gooey substance escapes from the solid shell.’

 

Before and after breast augmentation by Dr Hodgkinson using saline implants

 

According to Dr Hodgkinson, the majority of surgeons in the USA are quite happy with saline implants and have continued to use them despite the reintroduction of silicone implants in the US in 2006. ‘As far back as 2004, Dr Tracy Baker from Miami presented his experiences with saline implant breast augmentation. His rupture rate and capsular contractor rate was approximately one percent of the total cases. This experience parallels my own, which has also demonstrated a remarkably low rate of rupture and capsular contracture.’

Dr Hodgkinson acknowledges that patients who have extremely thin tissue and want to have very large breasts do have a better feel to their breast if silicone is used. ‘However, many patients are not willing to have foreign bodies inserted into their systems because they are fearful of longterm complications, and rightly so. For these patients I believe the saline solution is ideal.’