When considering breast augmentation, there are two general options for women – silicone and saline. Each implant has advantages, but applying the relative pros and cons to your individual body type can be a challenge. Here is a look at how silicone and saline implants can impact appearance, health, and overall satisfaction with breast augmentation.
Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone implants are pre-filled with surgical-grade silicone gel, which is thick and sticky. As a result of being thick and sticky, silicone is more similar to human fat, the primary component of breasts, than saline. Many women feel that silicone gives a more natural look and feel. As it turns out, this is only true for some women.
In reality, silicone breast implants are better for thin patients and those with small natural breasts. These recommendations are based on the fact that silicone is lighter and less likely to display rippling of the breast skin. The difference in weight can be dramatic for women with smaller frames and for those opting for larger implants.
Other reasons to choose silicone include the fact that the implants tend to be softer and they tend to last longer before requiring attention or repeat surgery. Most women feel that silicone provides a more natural slope to the upper breast.
The biggest drawback to silicone is the fact that the implants come pre-filled, which makes them larger. A larger implant requires a larger incision, which means a larger scar, something that most plastic surgery procedures are designed to avoid. In general, silicone implants are best inserted via an axillary incision. Silicone implants are not approved for women under the age of 22.
Saline Breast Implants
Saline implants tend to be less expensive, require less invasive surgery, and provide more volume choices. The latter benefit comes from the fact that saline implants are inserted without any fill and then custom-sized through the addition of sterile saline. In many cases, saline implants can be adjusted, after surgery, to provide slight changes in size and shape.
Unlike silicone, saline implants are not prone to silent rupture. As plastic surgeon Greg Gankse points out, silent ruptures occur when an implant breaks open but there is no change in the shape or volume of the breast. Because saline implants are filled with a non-viscous fluid, they leak when ruptured. This leads to a dramatic change in breast shape and volume and thus prompt attention after a rupture.
Making a Choice
Whether located in Beverly Hills, CA or Des Moines, IA, a good surgeon can ensure that both silicone and saline implants look and feel natural. For women looking to undergo breast augmentation, it is important to handle each implant and talk to patients who have had each. Understanding the subtle differences between these two implants and how they impact specific body types can ensure long-term satisfaction after breast augmentation.