The Great Implant Debate: Silicone versus Saline
Last year, over 300,000 women underwent breast augmentation in the United States. Clearly, the procedure is a popular one in the cosmetic surgery industry, but there are important choices you need to make before the operation. For one, if you’re considering breast implants, you may wonder how to choose between silicone or saline implants. Here’s what you need to know:
The major difference between the two breast implants is what is inside them. Saline implants are filled with different material than silicone implants. The saline implants consist of an empty silicone outer shell that’s filled with saline at the time of breast implant surgery. Silicone implants also consist of a silicone outer shell, but they’re filled with a cohesive silicone gel rather than sterile salt water. Silicone gel has a thick, gummy consistency that closely feels like natural breast tissue. Saline isn’t compressible and gives a firmer feeling breast.
Saline and silicone implants also differ in how they are filled. Saline implants are filled only after they have been placed inside the breast tissue and can be filled to whatever size breasts the patient is interested in. This is an advantage of saline implants since it requires a smaller incision to implant them, which will also lessen the chance of any noticeable scarring after the surgery. A further advantage of saline implants is that doctors can adjust the size of each breast to ensure that they are the same size. Silicone implants are already filled before they are implanted and the size cannot be adjusted after they are placed inside.
In terms of how they look and feel, silicone implants are considered to be a better option compared to saline implants. Many women believe that silicone implants offer a much softer feel and look more like natural breasts, and are less likely to produce rippling, while saline implants tend to feel hard. Saline implants also are more likely to appear wrinkled or rippled, especially among women who have very little breast tissue of their own. Therefore, silicone implants would be a better choice for women who have undergone a mastectomy or for women who are rather thin.
Both saline and silicone breast implants are considered safe for breast augmentation and breast reconstruction. Long-term follow-up studies — in which researchers will look for evidence of continued safety and effectiveness of saline and silicone breast implants — are ongoing.
Based on your body type, your plastic surgeon may recommend one type of implant over another for optimal cosmetic results. Either type of breast implant is safe, however. Ultimately, the choice between saline and silicone is up to you. Learn more about your breast augmentation and which implant is better for you by contacting Shapiro Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.