Choosing between Silicone or Saline Breast Implants for Breast Augmentation Surgery

Breast augmentation surgery, or augmentation mammoplasty, is a procedure aimed at enhancing the size and shape of the breast. This type of breast surgery involves careful decision-making regarding the type of breast implants that can be used, the incisions to access the breast, the location to place the breast implant, and the shape of the implant.

The implant is composed of a shell made from durable silicone, which can be smooth or textured surfaces. All breast implants have a silicone shell, and the composition of the inner material can differ between silicone gel and sterile salt water. Implants are also available in different shapes, including round implants or tear-drop implants.

Before deciding whether you want saline or silicone implants, it is essential to consult a plastic surgeon and understand the difference between the implant types to find the right option for you! Continue reading to learn more about saline and silicone implants at AMG Plastic Surgery in Herndon, Virginia.

Breast Augmentation Technique

Sometimes done under general anesthesia or local anesthesia, the surgical technique involves placing the implant in a submuscular (under pectoral muscle), subfascial , or subglandular placement (above the chest muscles). There are multiple surgical techniques to access the breast when the surgeon makes an incision either around the nipple, through the armpit, under the breast fold, or sometimes through the belly button to place the implants. A breast lift can also be incorporated into the surgery to address sagging breasts.

Implant Safety

Breast implant safety is the main priority. A breast implant is not a forever device. A breast implant can rupture or, over time, harden with a scar. An implant may cause breast pain, or breast implant illness. In some rare cases, breast implants have been associated with breast implant-associated anaplastic lymphoma. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified a possible association between breast implants and the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), an uncommon cancer of the immune system. The condition is known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). The FDA believes that women with breast implants that have textured surfaces have a very low but increased risk of developing BIA-ALCL. However, breast implants do not cause breast cancer.

Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone gel implants, sometimes called gummy bear implants, are crafted from a silicone shell filled with silicone gel, known for mimicking the feel of natural breast tissue. Many patients opt for silicone implants due to their natural feel and appearance. They are available in various sizes and shapes, allowing for a customizable fit that can meet diverse aesthetic goals. Additionally, silicone implants tend to have a lower risk of wrinkling or rippling, which is particularly beneficial for patients with thinner skin or less natural breast tissue. It’s important to note that while silicone implants require patients to be at least 22 years old, they remain a popular choice for their durability and the realistic texture they offer for breast augmentation.

The Benefits of Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone breast implants are renowned for their ability to provide a more natural feel and appearance compared to saline implants. This quality stems from the silicone gel’s viscosity, which closely mimics the consistency of breasts. In addition, silicone implants are less likely to cause rippling under the skin, a common concern for women seeking a seamless aesthetic result.

They are also available in various shapes and sizes, allowing for a highly customizable approach to breast augmentation that can cater to individualization for breast volume and breast size.

Risk of a Silicone Implant

Despite the benefits, silicone breast implants come with their own set of challenges. One of the primary concerns is the risk of silent implant ruptures. Unlike saline implants, which visibly deflate when ruptured, silicone implants may not present immediate signs when they leak, making regular monitoring through MRI or ultrasound scans crucial every 5-6 years after placement and every 2-3 years thereafter to inspect the breast shape and breast implant. Additionally, silicone implants generally require a larger incision for placement due to being prefilled, which may result in more noticeable scarring for some individuals. Lastly, the procedure for silicone implants might be more expensive than their saline counterparts, making them a less accessible option for certain patients seeking breast augmentation.

Saline Breast Implants

Saline breast implants offer a unique set of advantages and considerations different from their silicone counterparts. Composed of a similar shell filled with sterile salt water, these implants are inserted empty and filled once in place, allowing for smaller incisions and potentially less scarring. Once they are in place, they are filled to your desired size.

Benefits of Saline Breast Implants

Saline breast implants offer several significant benefits that make them an attractive option for many women considering breast augmentation. Firstly, because they are filled with sterile salt water after insertion, the incision required is typically smaller than for silicone implants, potentially leading to less noticeable scarring. This also allows the surgeon to adjust the fill level, enabling a more customized fit and symmetry between breasts. Additionally, if the implant ruptures, the body safely absorbs the saline solution, making leaks easier to detect and posing less risk than silicone.

Saline implants are often less expensive than their silicone counterparts, making them a more cost-effective option for patients. Furthermore, they are available to women 18 years of age and older, offering an option for younger women who wish to enhance their breasts.

Risks of a Saline Implant

Despite the benefits associated with saline implants, there are certain risks that patients should consider before undergoing the procedure.

One of the primary concerns is the potential for implant rupture or deflation, which, while not harmful due to the saline solution being safely absorbed by the body, will require additional surgery to replace the implant. Additionally, some women might experience aesthetic concerns such as visible wrinkling or rippling of the implant, particularly in patients with thinner breast tissue. If air is injected into the implant with saline during the filling process, a “sloshing” sound will occur.

Scar tissue that forms around the implant, known as capsular contracture, can also cause the breasts to feel firmer and may require further treatment.

Patients must discuss these risks thoroughly with their surgeon to make an informed decision about breast augmentation.

Summary of Comparisons between Saline and Silicone Implants

Choosing between silicone and saline breast implants is a significant decision for those considering breast augmentation. Silicone implants, or gummy bear implants, are known for their more natural feel. They also present less risk of wrinkling or rippling compared to saline implants, making them a preferred choice for women with less natural breast tissue.

On the other hand, saline implants offer a unique advantage in terms of adjustability since the surgeon can alter the implant size during surgery, which is beneficial for achieving symmetric breasts. Furthermore, while both types of implants have specific advantages and possible complications, individuals must weigh these factors carefully and consult a professional surgeon to determine the best option tailored to their body type and aesthetic goals.

Schedule a Consultation with a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon for your Breast Augmentation

As with any medical procedure, it’s essential to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon before deciding between saline or silicone implants. A consultation provides an opportunity for the patient to discuss their concerns and goals, for the surgeon to evaluate their overall health, and for the surgeon to determine if they are suitable candidates for breast augmentation.

If you are interested in breast augmentation surgery in Herndon, Virginia, contact us today by filling out our online contact form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Amir Ghaznavi at AMG Plastic Surgery. Our friendly team looks forward to helping you achieve the self-image and self-confidence of your dreams!

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!