Saline vs. Silicone Breast Implants: How Are They Different?

Saline vs. Silicone Breast Implants: How Are They Different?

When you’re getting breast implants, you have a lot of significant decisions to make. One of the most important decisions is one of the most basic: saline or silicone implants for your breast augmentation

Silicone implants sometimes bring up negative connotations, but these concerns are based on outdated beliefs about the procedure. However, there are differences between the two types of implants that may help you decide. The Advanced Plastic Surgery Center providers explain more about the differences between these two popular types of implants.

The two types of implants

Implants are made of two different materials, either saline (saltwater) or silicone gel. The Food and Drug Administration approves both for use as breast implants. Both also have a silicone outer shell.

Saline implants are approved for adults over the age of 18, while silicone is approved for those over 22 if you’re choosing them for augmentation. Both types of implants are available to women of any age for reconstructive purposes.

However, most people making the decision do so for augmentation purposes and can decide which they prefer. Here’s how they differ.

Saline implants

Saline implants have the advantage that you can often have smaller incisions made to insert them. We insert the empty saline implant and then fill it with sterile salt water once it’s placed in your chest. This means that you’ll have less scar tissue from the procedure.

However, some people say that saline implants are seen more easily under the skin and are more likely to cause “rippling” due to the water. Sometimes, we may choose to overfill them to avoid causing the rippling effect.

Silicone implants

Silicone implants are filled with silicone gel, a thick, sticky fluid that closely resembles human fatty tissue. For this reason, silicone implants have the advantage of feeling more like natural breasts than saline implants. 

Both saline and silicone implants are considered equally safe options. Scheduling a consultation with one of our doctors can help you decide which one you want to choose.

Other factors to consider

One possible complication of breast augmentation surgery is that your implants might rupture. Although this may sound alarming, it isn’t a significant cause for concern.

If you have saline implants, your body will absorb the fluid. Since it’s sterile water, it won’t cause any harm.

You’re also likely to notice right away that your implant has ruptured because your breast may look deflated. In this case, you can schedule an appointment to have the implant shell replaced and refilled.

However, if you have silicone implants, you may or may not notice if the implant has ruptured. You may notice that your breasts have slightly changed shape or feel harder. But in many cases, you might have what is called a “silent leak.”

Usually, a ruptured silicone implant doesn’t cause any harm and isn’t associated with any health problems. Eventually, an undetected leak of silicone implants may cause breast pain. But it’s recommended to get an MRI after about five years if you want to be extra cautious.

In general, you can expect silicone implants to last for about 15 years before rupture.

Additional factors to consider

Breast implants, whether saline or silicone, are unfortunately not resistant to the issue of breast sagging. You may need a breast lift to restore your breasts to their youthful, perky shape and position. Significant weight gain or loss can affect the position of your implants as well.

If you haven’t had children yet, you may have challenges with breastfeeding, although this is not always the case. If this is a concern for you, you may wish to postpone your breast augmentation until you’re done with childbearing.

Additionally, breast augmentation isn’t guaranteed to last for a lifetime. We can replace your implants with new ones or take them out altogether. As with breast augmentation surgery, insurance usually doesn’t cover surgery to remove implants.

If you are considering breast augmentation surgery, scheduling a consultation with one of our doctors is the best way to decide which route you want to take. We can also help you decide about the size and shape of your breasts. Contact us today or request an appointment online.

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