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Breast Implants: Silicone vs. Saline

Breast Implants: Silicone vs. Saline

July 1, 2015 No Comments Uncategorized

Here you are. You’ve decided you’re ready for breast implants.  Well, to that we say, “Congratulations!” It’s a big decision, and we celebrate all efforts a woman takes to make herself feel great – in whatever ways she decides are best for her.

 As you probably know, now that you’ve taken that first step, you have a few important decisions to make regarding your breast augmentation.  You’ll need to decide on a surgeon, size and shape, and whether to go with silicone or saline implants.  We can help you with all of that.

Let’s start with a brief discussion of the implants.

A Brief History of Breast Implants

You may or may not remember the hubbub over silicone implants in the 1990s. After the FDA announced a voluntary moratorium on older silicone gel-filled breast implants (and then later approved them for reconstruction and revision patients only), the words “silicone” and “implants” together caused a lot of hysteria around their “toxic” leakage.  While it’s true that those older implants weren’t as durable as we would have liked, the claims that the leakage caused auto-immune deficiencies and other diseases was false.  Still, they did come off the market, and during the 90s and Early Aughts, many women turned to saline implants for their breast augmentation.

In 2006, the FDA approved a new generation of silicone implants called cohesive gel implants, which are thicker and more durable. Even when torn, the gel cannot leak into the surrounding tissue. And more recently still, in 2013, the FDA approved an even more cohesive silicone gel implant. The technology is remarkable. The new generation of silicone implants accounts for 80% of all the breast augmentation procedures we do at SD Body Contouring.

Silicone Breast Implants

Pros: Of those who prefer silicone over saline implants, the majority will tell you it’s because they feel more natural.  Silicone gel has a softer consistency more similar to that of natural fatty breast tissue than saline, and they look more realistic as well. Silicone implants have less of a chance of rippling or wrinkling. They are also lighter than saline, which means they have a lower risk of downward displacement due to gravity. Modern silicone implants have the lowest rate of developing scar tissue around them (“capsular contracture”). Silicone breast implants are a common choice for post-mastectomy breast reconstruction and over-the-muscle implant placement.

Cons: Silicone breast implants are not available for women under 22. They are also more expensive, and because they come pre-filled from the manufacturer (rather than inflated during surgery), the surgical incisions tend to be larger than the incisions made for saline implants. Because a rupture will not noticeably leak, it may go undetected for some time. Frequent MRIs may be required to monitor the health of silicone implants.

Saline Breast Implants

Pros: A doctor inserts saline implants deflated and then fills them (with sterile saline or salt water) and adjusts them during surgery. This means saline implants require smaller incisions, and their volume can be increased or decreased during the surgery for more precise symmetry. Saline implants are available for women 18 and older, and they are less expensive than silicone implants. In case of rupturing, the saline implant will deflate noticeably and the body will absorb the saline solution harmlessly.

Cons: Those who do not favor the saline implants complain of excessive firmness that does not feel or look like natural breasts. Visible rippling or wrinkling is more common in breasts that have been augmented with saline implants than those with silicone. Saline implants are not recommended for women with very little breast tissue, as rippling and firmness tend to be more pronounced in these cases.

Ultimately, the decision to go with silicone or saline implants is yours to make.  At SD Body Contouring, our dedicated team of board certified cosmetic surgeons is here to help you sort through your options. Give us a call and schedule a sit-down. Once you decide between saline and silicone breast implants, we can start talking size and shape!

 

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