While plenty of women want to have bigger or fuller breasts, not every woman would consider having breast augmentation surgery. For many women, wearing a push-up or padded bra is fine. But, what if you could have larger breasts, without the push-up bra and without surgery?
A Temporary Approach to Breast Enhancement
Some patients have been exploring an option that enlarges the breasts, at least temporarily, without the need for surgery. The New York Times recently reported that saline injections have become an option for some women and that some doctors are willing to perform the injections. But whether or not saline injections are worth the cost remains up for debate.
What Are Saline Injections?
During a breast augmentation surgery, the doctor inserts implants, made of either silicone or saline, into the breasts, usually underneath the muscle. The saline or silicone is encased in a silicone rubber shell, so your body doesn’t actually come into contact with the material inside of the implant. In the case of saline implants, the outer shell prevents your body from reabsorbing the saline.
In the case of saline injections, there is no outer shell and no implant. Instead, the person performing the procedure injects saline solution directly into the breast tissue. The injection causes the breasts to swell, at least for a short period of time. In most cases, the breasts return to their original size within 24 hours, sometimes after a much shorter amount of time.
Why Consider Saline Injections?
When hearing about how little time the results from the injections last, your first question might be, why even bother?
Some surgeons who offer the option of saline injections charge several thousand dollars and there is no guarantee that the results will last for even a day.
Potential Benefits of Saline Injections:
But, it seems that the injections have become an option for women who just want a quick boost.
Temporary results: For example, they might be appealing to a patient who needs to fill out a wedding dress or gown for a black tie affair. Some women might want the injections when they are going away for a weekend long beach vacation.
Non-surgical procedure: Saline injections eliminate the need for surgery, avoiding incisions, scarring and recovery time.
Trail run for breast implants: Alternatively, the injections might be an option for women who are considering getting real breast implants. The injection can give a sense of how the breasts will look if more volume is added. If a woman finds she doesn’t like them, the results wear off quickly enough.
Risks and Considerations of Saline Injections
Saline injections do have their risks, which is why many board certified surgeons don’t offer them or even question why another doctor would offer them.
Drawbacks of Saline Injections:
Temporary Results The injections are not permanent and can wear off quickly requiring repeat injections to maintain the desired look.
Cost: Saline injections can be expensive ranging from $500 to $2,000 per injection
Potential for breast sagginess: When the saline is injected into the breast area, it the expansion of the tissue causes the skin to stretch. Depending on a woman’s age and the condition of her skin, it might bounce back to its original size after the saline wears off or it might remain loose, causing sagginess in the breast area, which would be the opposite of what most women want.
Risk of Infection: There’s also the risk of infection, which can happen with any injection. If the saline isn’t sterile or if you’re getting the injection from someone who isn’t a qualified doctor, there is no way to tell that the needle or material he or she is using is clean or safe.
Not FDA Approved: The Food and Drug Administration tends to be very cautious about what is approves for use in breast enlargement. It pulled silicone implants off the market for many years, due to concern about their safety. Now that the implants have been approved again and are back on the market, the FDA encourages patients to be very cautious about them, to have the implants monitored regularly and to have them removed or replaced on a fairly regular basis.
It’s worth noting that the FDA has not approved saline injections for breast augmentation. The lack of approval doesn’t necessarily mean the injections are very unsafe. Instead, it means that they haven’t undergone rigorous safety tests or examinations.
Consider These Options Before Saline Injections
If you are considering a non-surgical approach to breast enhancements, there are less expensive, safer ways to do so than to consider saline injections.
Push up or padded bras: A bra that fits well and that has a bit of padding can be helpful. This will provide a boost in breast size without injections or surgery. And an added benefit of it is that you can reuse it for the next time you want a temporary enhancement.
Exercise: Specific exercises may help tone the chest area, potentially improving breast appearance
Making an Informed Decision: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Saline Injections
Saline injections offer a non-surgical option for temporary breast enhancement. However, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding if saline injections are right for you. Consider the cost, temporary results, potential risks, and alternative options. Consulting with a qualified healthcare professional can provide personalized guidance and help you make an informed decision.
When or if you decide that you’d like to consider a more permanent option, Dr. George Bitar at the Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in the Washington, DC area, can help you decide the size and material that would work best for you. To learn more about breast implants and augmentation and to see if the surgery is something that will work for you, call (703) 206-0506 to schedule your appointment today.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.