If you are considering a breast augmentation, you will have several decisions to make. From the size and shape to the width and filling, you will have to consider all of your options to know what the best choice of implant is for you. But how can you decide what type of implant to get? This is what you need to know about silicone vs saline breast implants.
What is an Implant made of?
The shell of all breast implants is made up of silicone, which is an inert polymer. This is used for many reasons, including its durability, realistic feel, and that silicone has no known human allergies associated with it. Meanwhile, the filling of the implant can vary between silicone gel and saline. The silicone gel is made of the same material as the shell. Saline is sterilized salt water that fills a silicone shell.
Advantages of Silicone
- Silicone gel implants have several advantages, including:
- Has no known human allergies or sensitivities associated with it
- More natural look and feel, mimicking breast tissue
- More customizable shape
Disadvantages of Silicone
- Harder to spot a rupture
Advantages of Saline
- Size of the implant is adjustable for a few months following surgery, allowing the surgeon to add or remove saline to get the wanted size
- Commonly has a slightly smaller incision
- Easier to spot a rupture
Disadvantages of Saline
- Look rounder and not as natural as silicone
What is the Right Implant for you?
Understanding the difference between breast implant types is important, but it might not help you decide the right choice to meet your needs. There are many individual factors that you will need to think about before going through with your breast augmentation procedure.
- Age: To begin with, saline implants can be placed on women 18 years and older, but silicone implants can be used for women 22 years and older. If you are 22 years or older, this should not be a concern in your decision.
- Cost: Silicone breast implants cost more to manufacture than saline breast implants and therefore can cost more than saline implants.
- Look: Both silicone and saline implants can have a realistic appearance, especially since they are normally placed under the pectoral muscle.
- Feel: Silicone implants have a reputation for giving patients a more realistic or natural feel. The silicone gel mimics breast tissue in both weight and suppleness.
- What result you want: Ultimately the choice should rest in the type of result you would hope to get from your breast implants. It is entirely a personal preference. Silicone might tend to look more natural, but this is not the goal for every patient and some do prefer the look of saline.
- Your body type: Your body type can also affect the type of breast implants that are the right choice for you. Women who are very thin or who do not have much natural breast tissue might be better served with silicone breast implants rather than saline. Since these women do not have enough natural tissue to cover the implant, the silicone will effectively look natural, where silicone implants could ripple. Meanwhile, if you have uneven natural breasts, saline might be a better option since you could even out the size by adjusting the amount of saline inside of each breast.
Safety and Durability
Both saline and silicone implants are safe and durable and have been used for a long time. Additionally, the longevity of the implants is going to be the same between the two, depending greatly on your body and lifestyle. Saline is often a choice for women because a leak can be easily spotted as the breast will deflate and the saline absorbed by the body. Silicone implants would require an MRI to confirm a leak. Implant ruptures are not frequent, though your implants will wear out over time and eventually might need to be replaced. If you are not having any adverse effects and your implants are still intact, there is no reason to need to replace them. Both silicone and saline implants are made with a silicone shell and have the same level of durability, so the risk of rupture is not higher in one rather than the other.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, deciding between saline vs silicone breast implants is a completely individual process. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the choice, we are here to help you. The Calgary Institute of Plastic Surgery is made up of an experienced team of plastic surgery specialists who will be able to guide you through the entire process. Dr. Lee understands the unique needs of his patients and will go over your wants and needs for breast implants and help you decide the perfect choice to meet your needs. Give our office a call today to schedule your consultation.