The Difference Between Silicone and Saline Breast Implants
Women who are considering breast augmentation have a very important decision to make – saline implants or silicone? Each option has unique attributes depending on the desired results, the recipient’s age, and health considerations. Here are the main differences to think about when considering silicone or saline breast implants:
The Facts About Saline
Saline breast implants consist of a sterile saline solution inside a silicone shell. These implants are filled once they are inside the body, so the necessary incision is generally smaller than with silicone implants. This also allows for the size to be adjusted in the future without a revision surgery. Saline implants are rounder and feel more firm than breast tissue as opposed to the teardrop shape and more natural consistency of silicone implants.
Although saline implants can rupture, the salt water fluid is simply reabsorbed by the body. For this reason, the minimum FDA-approved age for receiving saline implants is 18 years old (a patient must be 22 for silicone implants). Should a rupture occur, a surgery would likely be required to remove the shell of the implant or replace the implant.
Silicone Implant Considerations
These implants consist of a silicone shell filled with silicone gel, which has a very similar consistency to human fat. Although silicone has a more natural look and feel, it can cause health issues if the implant ruptures and leaks. Regular imaging tests can detect a leak so that the implant can be removed. The FDA recommends an MRI scan three years after the surgery and every two years thereafter, as leaks can occur “silently” (without obvious symptoms).
The FDA has approved silicone implants for those aged 22 and older. Today, five different versions are available. The most recent innovation is the gummy bear implant, which has a firm, stable shell that will hold its shape. These can provide a natural look and feel. The gummy bear implant is also the best option for patients who need breast reconstruction after a mastectomy because existing breast tissue is not required.
Whether you prefer silicone or saline breast implants, your most important consideration is finding a qualified plastic surgeon to help ensure the best possible results. William Franckle, MD, FACS, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience who performs breast augmentation surgeries in South Jersey. Call 856.772.6500 or contact us online to request a consultation.