After careful consideration, you’ve decided to undergo breast augmentation to achieve the body you’ve always wanted. You can’t wait to feel more self-confident wearing all types of clothing, especially swimsuits. So, now that you’re fully prepared to enhance your breasts, how do you know whether to choose silicone or saline breast implants?
Dr. Yaqub Baraki, at Lansdowne Aesthetic Center in northern Virginia, explains the differences between saline and silicone so you can make the most informed decision.
Saline pros and cons
Saline implants are silicone shells filled with a sterile saltwater (saline) solution. These implants are inserted into your breast tissue during surgery and filled with saline to the desired level once they’re in place. This provides some flexibility and added precision when it comes achieving the desired shape, size, and uniformity during breast augmentation.
Saline breast implants are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe for women over 18 undergoing breast augmentation or for women of any age who require reconstructive breast surgery.
Pro: No health risks if they leak or rupture
It rarely happens, but if saline implants leak or rupture, the saline solution doesn’t pose any major health risks. In fact, your body naturally absorbs and expels any solution that leaks out of the implant.
Con: The implant collapses if it ruptures
Saline implants tend to collapse if they do rupture or leak, so you’ll notice if something is wrong. Although your breast may appear uneven or misshapen if a leak occurs, you can typically have the original saline implant removed and a new one inserted during the same procedure.
Pro: No extra testing or monitoring
Another advantage of saline implants is that you won’t have to do anything special to monitor your breasts, such as routine MRI scans. However, routine mammograms may be a bit more challenging and may require additional views of your breasts.
Pro: Natural, uniform shape
Saline implants are known for their natural, uniform shape. Some saline implants contain an inner structure that helps the implant feel more natural, too.
Silicone pros and cons
Silicone implants are silicone shells that are pre-filled with silicone (a type of plastic) gel. Like saline implants, silicone implants are also FDA-approved for augmentation and reconstructive surgeries. If you are considering silicone breast implants to enhance your breasts, you must be at least 22 years old.
Pro: Most natural look and feel
Silicone is a thick, sticky liquid that feels similar to natural fat tissue. Many women report that silicone breast implants look and feel most like natural breasts.
Pro: Leaking implants won’t collapse
Although it rarely happens, even if your silicone implant leaks, it won’t collapse because the gel is so thick. In fact, you may not even notice a problem if the gel leaks or your implant ruptures, as the gel tends to stay trapped within the breast tissue that forms around the implant.
Pro: Leaking silicone doesn’t pose a major health threat
In the early years of silicone breast implants, there was concern about silicone leaking into the rest of a woman’s body. Today, research shows that leaking silicone gel doesn’t pose a significant health threat for developing breast cancer or any other disease. Of course, any time you suspect a leaking or ruptured breast implant, you should see your doctor before it causes pain or changes your breast shape.
As with saline implants, ruptured silicone implants can be removed and replaced during the same surgical procedure.
Con: Extra monitoring required
The FDA recommends that women with silicone breast implants monitor their breasts with biennial MRI scans to ensure they haven’t ruptured or moved out of place. Beginning three years after surgery, you should plan to schedule a breast MRI every two years. Additionally, your routine mammograms may become more complicated and require extra imaging.
Things to consider with both types of breast implants
- New implants last an average of 10 years or more
- You may need additional surgery in the future for replacement, removal, or to maintain the desired appearance
- Your breasts can still sag as you age
- Some shifting or rotating may occur with both types of implants
- Some rippling may occur under your skin, but this is more common with saline implants
- Select an experienced, qualified, board-certified cosmetic surgeon for best results
Ultimately, when deciding between saline and silicone breast implants, the choice is a very personal one. We encourage you to speak with Dr. Baraki about the advantages of both types of implants so you can determine which one is best for you and your lifestyle. Call or schedule a consultation using our online system.