Silicone or Saline: Which Breast Implant is Right for You?

By Kahlil Andrews MD

When a woman decides to have breast augmentation surgery, one of the most difficult decisions she will have to make is whether to go with saline or silicone implants. Many cosmetic surgeons offer both types in their office, because the different materials each have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Choosing between the two can be difficult, but understanding the similarities and distinct differences between the materials is an important first step.

About Saline Implants

Saline implants have been on the market since the 1960s and became the only choice for women from 1992 to 2006 when silicone implants were taken off the market. This implant consists of a soft silicone rubber shell that is filled with sterile salt water once it is placed into the breast. The saline solution is completely safe for the body, so there is no major concern if the implant leaks or ruptures while it is inside the breast.

There are a number of advantages to saline implants, including:

  • A smaller incision is required to insert the implant
  • Leakage or rupture of the implant is clearly visible
  • The size of the implants can be adjusted once they are placed in the breast
  • Saline implants cost about 50% less than silicone implants

About Silicone Implants

Silicone implants have also been around since the 1960s, although the FDA removed them from the market between 1992 and 2006. At the time, there was concern about one of these implants leaking silicone into the body. However, after multiple studies were done on these implants and they were found to be safe. Thus, they were brought back on the market and are now considered just as safe as saline implant.

Benefits of the silicone implant include:

  • A more natural feel to the breast
  • Ruptures do not result in a changed outer appearance
  • Tend to be lighter than saline
  • Less likely to result in rippling
  • Technological advancements in the gel allow for even less rippling, lower rupture rates and more shape options (highly cohesive/”gummy bear” implants)

Making a Choice

Most physicians agree that excellent results can be achieved with both the saline and silicone implants today. The choice in implants will depend on a number of factors:

  • The current size of the breast
  • Thickness of skin and breast tissue
  • Preferences on incision length and placement
  • Age of the patient (saline implants can be used in patients 18 and over, while silicone can be used in patients 22 and over)

The most important factor in a successful breast augmentation procedure is not the type of implant you choose, but the experience and training of the surgeon. We have had ample experience in using both types of breast implants at Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and will help you choose the best implant for your needs. Contact us today to learn more about breast augmentation at 319-800-6877.

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