Silicone vs. Saline Breast Implants

There are many reasons why plastic surgery is desired, or even necessary, and gaining an increased sense of confidence is chief among them. Most aspects of a person’s body can be altered through cosmetic surgery and most popular among them all continues to be breast augmentation.

In 2017 alone, 300,378 total breast augmentation procedures were performed in the United State alone according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Women all over the world have undergone breast augmentation since the 1960s and remains a viable option today for anybody seeking to alter the size and shape of their breasts.

At Front Range Plastic & Surgery, we perform quality and professional breast augmentation by highly-trained and qualified doctors, offering procedures in each of the two types of breast implants. To help you better understand each, their advantages and differences, we’ve put together this informative blog post as your source to compare silicone vs. saline breast implants.

What Is Breast Augmentation?

Let us first begin with the very basics to help us form a baseline understanding of the procedure. Breast augmentation — technically referred to as augmentation mammoplasty — is a surgical procedure that enhances the size and/or shape of a woman’s breast. There are a number of reasons someone might alter their breasts through augmentation, whether it be purely cosmetic or to restore the appearance of the breasts following traumatic, hereditary or congenital abnormalities.

A breast implant is an implantable medical device placed behind the breast (known as a “subglandular” placement) and/or chest muscle (called a “submuscular” or “subpectoral” placement). Breast implants can increase the volume of the breast and create a better symmetry for each breast if they are naturally different in size or shape.

Breast augmentation is a safe surgical procedure when performed by a trained and certified plastic surgeon like we have here in Dr. Warren Schutte and can help improve both a woman’s physical appearance and self-confidence.

Key Takeaways:

  • TBreast augmentation is a surgical procedure that enhances the size and/or shape of a woman’s breast
  • Breast implants are implantable medical devices placed behind the breast or chest muscle to increase the volume, symmetry and shape of the natural breast
  • Breast augmentation and breast implants are a safe and popular procedure when performed by a trained and certified plastic surgeon

Types of Breast Implants

As we’ve alluded to above, breast augmentation is the term for the overall surgical procedure to enhance the size, shape and symmetry of natural breasts, but breast implants are available in two separate types. To help provide a solid understanding moving forward, we’ll give a brief overview of each of the two types of breast implants.

Silicone: All breast implants shells are made of an inert polymer called silicone, but a silicone breast implant sees that shell filled with a silicone gel. It flows differently and can create a more natural look to the breasts after augmentation. Women must be 22 or older for silicone implants, per FDA regulations.

Saline: Utilizing a silicone outer shell as well, saline breast implants are instead filled with a sterile salt water called saline, which has the consistency of water. The silicone shell is inserted into the body and is then filled with saline. Women 18 or older are eligible for saline breast implants.

There have been many advancements in breast augmentation and breast implants in the last 50 years as saline became a popular alternative to traditional silicone implants in the 1990s and early 2000s. Silicone implants have made great technological strides the past 20 years and are in fact in there seventh and eighth generations. Now let’s take a closer look into each individually.

Silicone Breast Implants

One of the attractive features of silicone breast implants is the feel of them. Silicone implants are considered to have a more natural feel, much closer to that of the natural breasts themselves.

Silicone implants also have a reduced chance of visible rippling or wrinkling, which leads many to think of silicone as a preferred breast implant choice. Silicone implants can be a great option for thinner women and for post-mastectomy breast reconstruction since it’s an over-the-muscle implant — so there is little or no natural breast tissue to provide coverage over the implant.

Key Takeaways:

  • Silicone breast implants have a more natural feel, similar to the natural breast
  • They have a reduced chance at rippling or wrinkling
  • Are often considered a good option for thin women or post-mastectomy procedures due to having little to no natural breast tissue coverage

Saline Breast Implants

An innovation to breast augmentation, and one which gained popularity for procedures conducted in the 1990s and early 2000s, saline breast implants tend to have a more firm feel, which is why they are thought of as having a less-natural feel. Some patients say they are more able to feel the outer edge of the implant or feel the fill valve, which is where saline can be added to the breasts when required over time.

Key Takeaways:

  • Saline breast implants are filled with a water-consistent substance
  • They tend to have a more firm, less-natural feeling than natural breast tissue
  • Saline was a popular option in the 1990s and early 2000s

Differences Between Silicone and Saline Implants

Like any cosmetic procedure, deciding which breast implant is best for you is a personal decision and should be discussed during a consultation with your plastic surgeon so they may answer any questions you have and provide insight and recommendations. However, you should have a base understanding going into your consultation so you can make the most-informed decision possible. To aid you to that end, here is an easy-to-read comparison of the difference between silicone and saline breast implants.

Look: Saline implants are filled with a water-consistency substance and tend to look rounder and have smaller incisions. Silicone implants look more natural and are less likely to ripple or wrinkle and have a lower risk of dropping because they’re lighter.

Feel: Silicone implants have a softer, more natural feel to them, while saline implants are firmer and not as close to the feel of natural breast tissue. Some women complain that they can feel the outer edges of the implant and valves with saline implants.

Ruptures: Saline implants can rupture and deflation happens within a few minutes or hours and you will immediately know it. They will likely rupture at some point and should be removed when it happens, but can be replaced. Silicone, on the other hand, will not “deflate”, but can have what’s known as a silent rupture, which you may not notice. Consult with your plastic surgeon for more in-depth details.

Key Takeaways:

  • Saline implants may look rounder and can ripple or wrinkle. They are harder and are less-naturally feeling as a result. Saline implants may also rupture in time.
  • Silicone implants have a more realistic feel closer to natural breasts and are lighter, plus they are less likely to wrinkle or ripple. Silicone does not deflate, but may silently rupture or shift.

Schedule Your Free Consultation!

To learn more about breast augmentation and the breast implants best for you and your body, contact us today and schedule your free consultation!

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