Choosing Between Saline and Silicone Breast Implants

You may associate breast implants with cosmetic surgery to increase breast size. But breast implants may be used for breast augmentation or reconstruction after a mastectomy -- or for replacement of the implants years later after either surgery.

Breast implants contain either saline solution or silicone. Although both are safe and realistic looking, there are some differences between saline implants and silicone implants.

If you need to make a decision between saline and silicone, Dr. Craig Foster and our team at Foster Your Beauty are ready to help you choose the implant that’s best for you.

Breast implant basics

No matter which implant you choose, both are encapsulated in an FDA-approved silicone shell. Aside from this similarity, the two are very different. The main factors to consider when making your decision are cost, how they look and feel, the implantation process, and what occurs if an implant ruptures.

Saline breast implants

Saline implants have several advantages. They’re less expensive and placing them requires a smaller incision because the shells can be inserted empty and then filled. This also makes it easier for the surgeon to adjust volume after placement. In the event of a rupture, the saline -- which is a sterile saltwater solution -- is absorbed by the body with no negative impact.

On the undesirable side, the saline implants can show some rippling effects. In the event of a leak or rupture, the result will be noticeable right away.

Silicone breast implants

Silicone is the gold standard for implants and is perhaps responsible for breast augmentation’s continued popularity. Although they’re more expensive, silicone implants mimic real breast tissue for a more natural look and feel.

Silicone implants also offer more variation when compared to saline.

Gummy bear implants are known for maintaining their shape, and tend to work best with tear-drop shaped breasts.

Round silicone implants appear the fullest, and have the lowest risk of turning out of place.

Smooth silicone implants are the softest, and allow for the most natural movement. Among silicone variants though, these implants are the most likely to show rippling.

Textured silicone implants develop scar tissue to stay attached, which helps prevent them from repositioning.

When an implant is placed, the skin heals around it and forms a capsule that helps keep the shell in place. If a leak occurs, the silicone may stay inside the shell or may be trapped by the capsule. Any leaked gel may eventually cause breast pain, breast thickening, or changes in the contour or shape of the breast.

Women who receive silicone implants should plan on getting an MRI every three years, as this scan will detect a leak or rupture. In this situation, the implant is removed, the silicone is removed, and a new implant is placed, if desired.

If you'd like to sit down with Dr. Foster and talk about implant options to decide which is right for you, give our office a call or send a message to our Park Avenue clinic today.

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