Thinking of breast augmentation? If so, it is crucial to know all your breast implant options. Most people have heard of silicone and saline breast implants, but most don’t know the differences, benefits, and risks.
Saline implants contain a solution of sterile salt water, similar to what is commonly used in IV therapy. Silicone is a sticky, cohesive liquid gel, making its consistency thicker than saline. Because of this thicker consistency, most women report that silicone implants look and feel more natural than saline breast implants. Silicone implants are also lighter, which means that sagging will be less of a problem as time passes.
More Differences Between Saline and Silicone Breast Implants
- During surgery, saline implants are inserted empty in to a small incision, and then filled once they are in place. Because they are filled after placement, their size can be adjusted during surgery if needed. Silicone implants are filled prior to surgery, which requires a larger incision.
- The more saline in an implant, the more it feels unnaturally firm and the greater potential to develop ripples. Both types are contained in a silicone shell.
- Patients can get saline implants once they turn 18, while silicone breast implants are available to women 22 years and older.
- If a saline implant ruptures, the implant will deflate and the liquid will be absorbed by the body without any health risks. If a silicone breast implant ruptures, it may not be noticeable (called a silent rupture). However, leaking silicone can cause a tingling sensation, pain, numbness, or various types of illness, including fibromyalgia. Leaking silicone should be removed immediately to prevent the gel from affecting other areas of the body.
- Because of the possibility of silent ruptures, it is recommended that women who have had silicone breast implants get regular MRIs.
Implants called “gummy bear implants,” are also available; they are so named because they contain a type of silicone gel with a thicker consistency. Though they are more expensive, they have a lower chance of rupture, a reduced risk of silicone migration if the implants leak, and they maintain their original shape longer. They have been available for women outside North America for many years, but they have only recently been introduced to the U.S. Market.
If you are in the Chicago area and are considering a breast augmentation procedure, we recommend contacting our office to set up a consultation with Dr. Placik. The doctor and his professional staff will help you decide which type of implant is best for you.