Saline vs. Silicone: Is One Better than the Other?

Breast implantsBreast augmentation may be one of the leading plastic surgery procedures performed in the past several years, but that does not mean the choice of implants is easy for every patient. In fact, one of the most common questions patients ask is whether saline or silicone implants are right for them. The answer is different in every situation, and it has more to do with personal preference than anything else. Here, we point out important details about each type of implant to help you begin to make your decision. Ultimately, however, the best way to know which implants you will prefer is to schedule a consultation with a trusted plastic surgeon.

What to Know about Saline Breast Implants

Saline breast implants are composed of a silicone shell that is filled with sterile saline once it has been inserted into the breast pocket. Patients who choose this type of implant typically do so for one of three reasons. They may be too young for silicone implants (approved for age 22 vs. 18 for saline implants). They may prefer the lower cost of saline implants, or they may feel safer knowing that a saline implant will deflate if it were to rupture.

Look, Feel, and Durability

One of the potential downsides of saline breast implants is that they typically feel firmer than silicone. This is due to the extent of filling within the silicone shell. An exception to this general rule is the Ideal Breast Implant, which is made with multiple silicone chambers that are filled with saline. In terms of durability, saline implants are comparable to silicone devices. If deflation occurs, the problems can be quickly dealt with by replacing the ruptured implant. Patients appreciate the fact that saline that leaks into the body gets absorbed without adverse reaction, whereas a silicone leak could present concerns.

Silicone Gel Implants

Silicone breast implants are pre-filled with a silicone gel before placement in the breast pocket. They also have a silicone outer shell that is made to withstand the normal pressures that may be placed on the chest. Several different silicone implants are available today, with each offering a varying degree of cohesiveness than others.

Look, Feel, and Durability

Silicone breast implants are known for their natural look and feel. Not just how the breasts feel to the touch, but how they feel in the body when moving or lying down. This is an important detail that patients should be aware of as they make their decision about the right implants for them. Like saline implants, silicone breast implants are made with strong outer shells that are intended to contain silicone gel for many years. The safety concerns that may have been raised by the recent recall can be alleviated knowing that only a small number of a certain textured breast implant model were involved. To date, most studies indicate that silicone breast implants are safe for most women.

If you’re considering breast augmentation, schedule a consultation that will provide you with the details you need to make the best decision for your needs. We’re happy to help. Call 610-527-4833 to schedule a visit to our Bryn Mawr office.

Posted in: Breast augmentation

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