What is Saline?

Saline is any liquid “solution” composed of water and sodium chloride. In this sense, a saline solution can be as simple as table salt and tap water. It must always be sterilized for any of its many medical purposes.

What are the Medical Roles of Saline?

When taken through an IV, this sterilized salt-and-water solution can rehydrate patients who are unable to drink. It can also be used to help flush the kidneys in order to get the body to pass kidney stones into the bladder and out the urethra. This form of solution is often mixed with glucose (sugar) to help offset the amount of sodium. Saline can also rinse the nasal passages as a way to reduce allergies or infections. A special teakettle-shaped applicator (nasal irrigator) is typically used to pour the solution into one nostril and out the other. The process is then repeated for the other nostril. It is important that the water, applicator, and solution are all sterile. Otherwise, harmful bacteria could be introduced into the body through the nasal passages. Eye drops use saline as an ocular means of transportation to deliver a wide variety of different medications (steroids, antihistamines, beta blockers, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, for example) into the body. As with nasal irrigators, it is important that the tip of the eyedropper does not touch any surface before use. A final use is to wash wounds and certain skin conditions. Unlike tap water, a sterile premade solution has virtually no risks of causing an infection. In its sterile form, it is one of the most sanitary liquid to clean wounds.

Saline and Hair Restoration

Saline has three primary roles for hair transplants:

  • Two of its uses are during surgery.
  • First, the local anesthesia itself used during the surgery is diluted with saline so that it is not too powerful.
  • Second, the extracted follicular hair units and tissue are placed in a chilled solution to keep the follicular hair units from drying, and to maintain its structural integrity while outside of the body. The solution is kept between 2C° and 8C° for the purpose of follicular unit and tissue storage. If not for this special solution, the hairs would have a much lower chance of surviving the procedure.
  • Its third use is after the surgery:
  • After the surgery, most doctors advice the patient to place a sterile saltwater solution into a spray bottle and mist the transplanted area. This will keep the wounds clean and keep the infection to a minimum. The exact duration will vary, but may be every half hour or so for a number of days after the. Follow your doctor’s instructions exactly as ordered.

Side Effects

Side effects of this solution are typically mild when injected, but may include:

  • Redness at the injection site
  • Swelling at the injection site
  • High temperature
  • A skin rash
  • Pain in the joints
  • Difficulty breathing
  • An infection at the injection site that can become serious if not treated.

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