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Breast Implants: Silicone vs Saline

Posted Feb 05 2013 3:31am

Deciding to have a breast augmentation procedure is an important decision. Breast implants are the most popular option when it comes to improving breast size. If you are considering breast enhancement with implants, you should be aware of the features of the two choices available: silicone and saline implants. Remember that your plastic surgeon can help you choose the right one.

Know the Similarities

Both the saline and silicone implants are FDA-approved. Both come with an outer silicone shell. They are available in variety of sizes and shapes ranging from 100 to 400cc and choice would depend on your chest size, height, and amount of breast tissue present. Both these implant types do not have a permanent life and may require replacement. The incision for placing the implants can be at the edge of the areola, in the armpit, or under the breast, depending on factors such as age, implant type, body mass and breast anatomy. Rare complications that may occur include infection, bleeding, and pain and fluid accumulation, which can be minimized if your breast augmentation surgery is performed by the right plastic surgeon.

Differences between Silicone and Saline Implants

  • Filler material: Silicone implants are filled with a thick fluid gel while the saline devices are filled with a salt water solution.
  • Appearance: Silicone devices have a more natural look and feel as the gel resembles human fat.
  • Incision: Gel implants are pre-filled and require an incision that is about half an inch longer than that to place saline implants. The latter are filled after they are inserted into the breast pockets, resulting in a smaller surgical scar.
  • Rupture: If implants get damaged, the substance inside may leak but will be absorbed by the body. The saline device is more likely to ripple, but the saline solution is non-toxic and harmless than silicone gel which is difficult to identify in case of silent rupture.
  • Age: Choice of implants also depends on the age of the patient. Saline breast implants are usually ideal for women of age 18 and older, while the other is a better choice for women of age 22 and above.
  • Cost: Silicone augmentation devices are more expensive than their counterpart.
  • Size: Increase or decrease in size is possible with saline devices equipped with special valves through which saline solution can be removed or added. This is not possible with pre-filled silicone implants.
  • Capsular contracture: The risk of capsular contracture is greater for the silicone gel device than for the saline one.

How to Ensure an the Best Results for Breast Augmentation

An established plastic surgery practice is the best place to have your breast augmentation surgery. Choose a facility with plastic surgeons who are experts in the procedure. This can offer many benefits:

  • Frequent MRI monitoring to detect silent rupture
  • Minimal side effects
  • Short treatment session
  • Outpatient procedure
  • Quality care and treatment
The right plastic surgeon will guide you on choosing between saline and silicone breast implants.
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