Saline versus silicone breast implants: how are they different?

Posted by Monarch Plastic Surgery

Aug 11, 2015 9:00:00 AM

silicone or saline implantsPatients who are considering breast augmentation surgery have options when it comes to their implants. Many plastic surgeons offer either silicone or saline implants, which will lead to different results following surgery. The best option for you depends on what results you'd like to achieve through your breast augmentation, as well as specific recommendations from your surgeon. Knowing the differences between silicone and saline implants and talking with your physician can help you make an informed decision about your breast augmentation surgery.

What are saline implants?

Saline breast implants contain sterile salt water. These implants are filled after the outer silicone shell is inserted into the body. They work very well and improve the appearance of breasts by creating a uniform shape, firmness, and feel. The FDA has approved this type of implant for women over the age of 18.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of saline implants?

One of the main benefits of saline breast implants is that if a leak occurs, salt water is the only byproduct leaking into your body. Salt water can be absorbed by the body and expelled without any complications. If a leak does occur, you will need to undergo surgery to remove the shell, at which time a new implant can be inserted. Your breast will change in shape and size if your saline implant leaks.

What are silicone implants?

Silicone breast implants have a silicone shell that is pre-filled with silicone gel before it is inserted into the breast. The silicone gel simulates the look and feel of human fat, making the implants appear more natural. This is why many women choose silicone over saline for their breast augmentation surgery. The FDA has approved this method for breast augmentations for women aged 22 and older, or for reconstruction surgery for women of any age.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of silicone?

Silicone breast implants create a more natural look and tend to retain their shape even if a rupture occurs. If your silicone implant leaks, the gel may escape into your body or it may remain within the shell. Regardless, the shell will not collapse. However, this also means that any problems are not as readily noticed. Therefore, it’s important to schedule regular check ups with your plastic surgeon to ensure that there are no issues with your implants. A ruptured silicone implant has not been shown to cause long-term health complications, but it can lead to pain or changes to the shape or contour of the affected breast.

What is the difference between the two?

Both saline and silicone breast implants have an exterior silicone shell. The interior substance of each can create a difference in the consistency and appearance of the breasts. Silicone implants may result in a more natural look, as they are designed to resemble body fat, and will not deflate if ruptured. On the other hand, saline implants only expel salt water rather than silicone if they leak, which is easier for the body to absorb and expel. You should discuss your feelings and surgery goals with your doctor to determine which option is best for you.

Breast augmentation surgery comes with minimal risks, and it is one of the most popular procedures in the US. The type of implant you choose is largely based on your personal preferences and ultimate goal from the surgery. It is important to discuss your options with your doctor to ensure that you make the right choice.

Contact Monarch Plastic Surgery to request a breast augmentation consultation and learn more about your options.

Topics: breast implants

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