BREAST IMPLANTS: SALINE VS. SILICONE

As you may have realized from our previous post about sizing for Breast Augmentation, deciding to have a Breast Augmentation is just the beginning of a series of decisions! One of these (very important) decisions is whether to use Silicone Gel Implants or Saline Implants.
left: silicone, right: saline
The majority of our Breast Augmentation patients could go with either Silicone or Saline implants and get a desirable result, however, there are certain patients that we would recommend one vs. the other. Saline implants are more prone to rippling and wrinkling and therefore should be avoided in patients with very little breast tissue as this rippling and wrinkling could be felt and sometimes seen, especially underneath the breasts and laterally along the side of the breast closest to the underarm. Saline is also heavier than silicone and therefore causes more pull on the tissues. This can be a problem if you are going with a very large implant as it can stretch out the tissues leading to premature drooping. Patients who already have some droop of the breast may also want to avoid saline implants as to not increase their problem. The weight of Saline can also be a good thing though, specifically in patients who have tight skin and a tight pectoralis muscle. The weight of a Saline Implant in this body type helps to stretch out the tissues allowing the implant to drop into the bottom of the breast and create a natural shaped breast. Patients who are younger than 22 years old who have never had implants before must also go with a Saline Implant as indicated by law.

A question asked by all of our patients is, are Silicone Implants less safe than Saline? The answer to this is that both implants are equally as safe. Saline Implants actually do have a Silicone hard shell that is then filled with Saline, so in both Implants the Silicone hard shell is what comes in contact with your actual tissue. The issue comes in with the rupturing of the Implants. Silicone and Saline implants, will eventually rupture just as a pair of jeans you wear everyday will eventually get a few holes in the knees. The cause of a rupture is usually not traumatic, but caused simply by wear and tear of the Implant being inside your tissue. That being said, traumatic rupture can occur, particularly with a penetrating trauma. If Saline Implants rupture, the Saline, which is basically salt water will slowly leak out and your body with absorb it and you will notice within a few days that one breast is quite smaller than the other. With Silicone implants, as the Silicone these days is Semi-Cohesive, making it the consistency of jello, the shape/size of the breast will not change. The Silicone will usually create a small bubble at the rupture site and your body may even form a scar around this. Usually this silicone will stay in the pocket where the implant is. This rupture will not cause any signs or symptoms and is therefore referred to as a silent rupture. The FDA recommends that in order to check for this silent rupture patients who have Silicone implants should get an MRI to check for a rupture starting 3 years after implants are placed and continuing every 2 years after that. Unfortunately, the MRI is not covered by your insurance as Breast Augmentation is a cosmetic procedure.

At our practice the majority of our patients end up going with Silicone implants, but as mentioned above, Saline Implants definitely have their place as well! At a consultation with Dr. Brooks he will examine you in order to determine whether a Silicone Implant or a Saline Implant will give you the best result. If you are interested in learning more about Breast Augmentation surgery call the office at 413-565-4400 to make a Consultation with Dr. Brooks.

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