If you dream of a world where you can add “temporary breast implants” on your weeknight to-do list, alongside picking up the dry cleaning and getting a quick manicure, then you’re in for a treat.
Doctors are now using saline injections to provide a quick-lift in the breasts, a procedure that only takes 20 minutes in total.
If this all sounds too good to be true, it’s probably because it is. Temporary breast augmentation isn’t for everyone, and the results only last approximately 24 hours at best. With that being said, giving the bust a short-term boost is appealing to a lot of women, especially those wanting to see how larger breasts would look before committing to surgery.
The short-term boob job craze hit an all-time high when New York City-based plastic surgeon Norman Rowe, M.D. invented the InstaBreast treatment, a saline solution that’s injected directly into the breast to create a larger appearance for up to 24 hours.
“This procedure is an excellent way for women to see how their body might look before deciding on surgery,” Rowe writes on his website. “What better way to decide whether or not a client wants permanent surgery than to let them live with it temporarily before going under the knife?”
Although Rowe says the treatment is quick and minimally invasive, he still doesn’t recommend it for those looking for a one-night-only boost. Instead, Rowe says it should be used to test out sizing before surgery.
How It’s Performed
Before the procedure, the specialist will numb the area to be injected with a topical treatment to minimize pain. With temporary breast enlargement, saline — which is essentially just saltwater — is injected into the breasts, which immediately creates a fuller, larger appearance.
Once the saline is in the system for approximately 24 hours, the body will begin to absorb the material (generally through your bloodstream) and eventually eliminate it.
As with all clinical cosmetic procedures, there are benefits and risks that must be weighed when it comes to saline injections in the breast.
It’s worth noting that when injected with saline, the body will retain traces of the substance, and it’s largely unknown how this could affect your health over the long-term. Post-treatment, unless you have specific concerns, there are no requirements that you follow-up with your doctor.
Generally speaking, those who get temporary breast enlargement injections don’t experience any pain after the fact. However, a little bruising is common. Other negative results and risks associated with the procedure include infection and possible long-term damage to the shape of the breast.
Obviously, if you’re looking for a long-term enlargement option, there’s really no better solution than permanent breast implant surgery. Not only does silicone provide more shaping opportunity (and a more natural look), but it’s proven to be relatively safe.
Moving Beyond Macrolane
If you’ve been waiting for a safe alternative to Macrolane — the breast-boosting injection that was banned in the U.S. in 2012 after it was believed to cause lumps — then InstaBreast and other temporary breast fillers may be worth considering.
Once referred to as the “30-minute boob job,” Macrolane was made of stabilized hyaluronic acid, which could be injected into the breasts, butt or other areas for plumping applications.
This body-contour filler was eventually discontinued by its manufacturer after radiologists were unable to perform thorough mammograms in breasts that had been injected with the substance.
Macrolane was different from the filling procedures available today, as it provided a more long-term option with effects lasting up to 12 months. Where Macrolane used a stabilized hyaluronic acid, today’s treatments use saline.
Most doctors agree saline is relatively safe when injected into the body. With that being said, no treatment — not even low-risk temporary breast enlargement — is completely risk-free. Doctors are still unsure whether or not saline injections will have the same effects on mammograms as Macrolane, and there are some risks associated with blood-pooling under the skin.
Additionally, there are reports suggesting that saline injections could permanently alter the shape and support of the breasts. As with any treatment, you should always consult a board-certified doctor and weigh the risks and side effects before proceeding with a new treatment.
Pros of Temporary Breast Enlargement
- Allows you to “test-drive” larger breasts — Sometimes referred to as the “try it before you buy it” breast enlargement, saline injection procedures are a good choice for those seeking a way to determine how permanent breast implants will look and feel before spending thousands on surgery.
- Less risky, less invasive — Unlike traditional breast enlargement procedures, saline injections are significantly less risky and invasive. When you have saline injected into the breasts, you can drive yourself home afterward and won’t need to put any limitations on work or exercise post-treatment. The whole procedure only takes a few minutes, and you’ll be healed in the same time it would take your doctor to perform a complete breast implant surgery.
- A pain-free option — Doctors who regularly perform breast enlarging injections report that the procedure is essentially pain-free. With the exception of rare cases where patients experience bruising or swelling, having your breasts injected with saline is not much different than having blood drawn.
Cons of Temporary Breast Enlargement
- It may affect the permanent shape of the breast — Some doctors are skeptical of temporary breast enhancement, claiming it may permanently alter the shape and support of the breast by stretching the skin to make room for the saline injections. Repeated injections could also cause long-term scarring, and may leave your breasts looking droopier than they did before you had the injections.
- It doesn’t look as natural as implants — According to The Plastic Surgery Channel, saline injections don’t take any shape inside the breast, meaning that they don’t provide the same natural, sculpted look as silicone implants. They’re also not a good choice for those who need a more dramatic change, as they can’t offer the same size boost as implants.
- Safety risks are still unknown — Unfortunately, the jury’s still out on whether saline breast injections are safe. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved the use of saline for breast enlargement. This doesn’t mean the injections are decidedly unsafe, however, only that they haven’t been fully tested and examined by the FDA yet.
- A costly body-contouring option — It probably goes without saying, but saline injections are significantly more affordable than silicone implants. That’s because, of course, they last only a few hours at best. But the price difference isn’t as dramatic as you’d expect. A temporary breast enlargement injection can set you back as much as $3,500.
- Not as dramatic as implants — The doctor administering the saline injections will be able to add extra size and volume to your breasts by adjusting how much solution is injected. However, many people who have tried saline injections say that the results are relatively low-impact. In other words, they’re a good choice for those who want to experience a boost of one or two cup sizes, but not more.
The Bottom Line
The general consensus in terms of temporary breast augmentation is that it should be performed sparingly — once or twice, tops — in order to help potential augmentation patients decide which cup size is most appropriate for their desires and frame.
In other words, there’s no sign that the “lunchtime boob job” will become as routine as, say, Botox injections or a blow-out. Regardless, you can still use this procedure as a one-time lift for extra-special events, as long as you get approval from your doctor and exercise caution.