Breast Augmentation: Silicone vs. Saline?


Posted on November 23rd, 2015 by Sinai


silicone breast implants vs saline breast implants

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the world with nearly 300,000 patients undergoing this procedure every single year. Before carrying out this surgery, all patients must consult with their surgeon to decide between silicone and saline implants to help them achieve their cosmetic goals. Here is a closer look at some of the pros and cons of these materials and what you can expect before, during, and after your own breast augmentation procedure.

Am I a Good Candidate for Breast Implants?

Modern cosmetic procedures are incredibly safe and effective, and one of the reasons for this is the amount of time that is spent screening patients. The ideal candidate for breast augmentation surgery is an adult patient that is no longer happy with the size or position of their breasts. The patient must also be in relatively good health with no major medical conditions that will affect the recovery process. These surgeries can be combined with other cosmetic treatments such as breast lifts and tummy tucks.

Understanding the Procedure

Exactly how your surgery is carried out will depend on a few unique factors such as the current position of your breasts and the size of the implants that are to be used. The patient will first have their picture taken (to compare with the results) before being administered a general anesthetic. An incision is then made along the areola or near the armpit before positioning the implant within the breast tissue. Once the implant is in the correct position, the incision is then partially sutured up. Your surgeon will leave part of the incision open in order to allow some of the fluid to escape.

A Look at Silicone Implants

Silicone implants were first used over 50 years ago and this procedure quickly became one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the world. By the turn of the century, over 1.5 million women had undergone breast augmentation surgery with a vast majority choosing silicone over any other implant material. Silicone is a gel-like material that became popular due to the fact that it feels nearly identical to human fat.

Unlike saline implants, silicone implants are filled beforehand and then inserted into a “pocket” that is created by the surgeon. Silicone is approved by the FDA for patients over the age of 22, and most women can expect these implants to last for 10 to 25 years. After 10 years, a number of minor cosmetic issues can begin to take place such as the implant shifting its position or the shell breaking down. If the silicone implant does rupture, a procedure will be needed to remove the shell and the leaking material.

Saline Implants

In the early 1990s, silicone implants were banned due to a number of safety concerns. While there was quite a bit of evidence that they were perfectly safe, pressure from a number of different groups along with negative reports in the media led to the FDA banning them outright. As these events unfolded, saline implants became much more popular and were approved by the FDA for cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries within 10 years of the banning.

The primary difference between saline and silicone implants is the material that is used to fill the shell. Saline is nothing more than a solution of water and salt that is almost identical to other bodily fluids. Instead of the shell being filled beforehand, the shell is inserted into the breast through the incision and then filled after it is already in place. Depending on the location of the shells and their size, the incisions for saline implants are often smaller than that of silicone implants. While they don’t perfectly match the consistency of natural breast tissue, these implants do often feel firmer.

Which Is Right for Me?

Women will need to speak with their surgeon about their own expectations and cosmetic goals before making a decision. Both of these materials have their own unique advantages and can be used to improve your self-image and your confidence. Some of the variables that you and your surgeon will need to consider include where the incisions will be made, the size of the implants, your age, and your medical history. Choosing the correct material will improve the results and make your recovery as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Recovering From Breast Augmentation Surgery

Breast augmentation surgeries are carried out under general anesthesia, and this means that you will need to have a family member or friend drive you to and from your procedure. The first two days after your procedure will be the most important part of your recovery, and this is why we suggest that all patients consider recovering in an outpatient facility such as Serenity Aftercare. You will experience some swelling and soreness for at least a few weeks, but most of these side effects should be gone within the first month.

Let Us Help You Achieve Your Cosmetic Goals

The team here at Beverly Hills Institute of Cosmetic Surgery believes that everyone deserves to have confidence in their own appearance. If you have decided that you might be ready for breast augmentation surgery, then please call us today to schedule your own no-obligation consultation. Our experienced surgeon can further explain the differences between silicone and saline implants and help you come up with a material that suits your own needs.


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