Silicone vs. Saline

Breast Implants Improve your Shape

Silicone and Saline Breast Implants by Dr. Greenberg of Manhattan | New York City (NYC) | Long Island

Millions of breast implant surgeries have been performed worldwide just in the past decade. This refined surgical procedure helps women feel more at home in their own body by creating the shape they see in their mind’s eye. Breast augmentation with either saline or silicone implants is a big decision in the life of any woman. We are happy to assist patients of our offices near New York City by providing personal care and concise information.

What factors should I consider before getting breast implants?

There may be more to consider before breast augmentation than you imagine. One of the first questions that we encourage patients to ask themselves is why they want to undergo such a procedure? Research indicates that the most satisfied breast augmentation patients are those who expressed a general sense of satisfaction with their body prior to surgery. Breast implants do not “fix” the body, they enhance the body to be even better.

Age is another consideration that is important to outcome. Women aged 18 and old can have breast augmentation. However, the type of implant that may be used is limited to saline until age 22. It is important, then, to know the various benefits of each type of breast implant in order to schedule surgery at the appropriate time.

Benefits of Saline Implants

Saline breast implants are silicone sacs filled with saline fluid, or a mixture of water and sodium. This is essentially the same salt-and-water solution that is found in the human body. One of the advantages of this type of implant is that the sac is filled only after it has been positioned beneath the skin or muscle tissue. This means a smaller incision, and it also means there is opportunity for adjustments to be made in size during the surgical procedure. The consistency of fluid in the breast implant sac translates to a firmer feel. Finally, if a saline implant were to rupture, the signs are immediate, allowing a woman to quickly contact her cosmetic surgeon for proper attention.

Benefits of Silicone Implants

Silicone breast implants are pre-filled, shaped silicone sacs that are filled with a cohesive gel that is also made of silicone. One of the reasons that more women choose silicone breast implants over saline implants is the natural feel that is achieved with the softer, less-dense makeup. This makeup also supports the longevity of the shape of the breast implant itself. To further improve the outcome of silicone breast implants, we also offer what are known as “gummy bear” implants. These highly-cohesive, form-stable breast implants are the best at holding shape even as a woman’s body ages. Also, silicone breast implants tend to ripple far less than saline types.

Are Silicone Implants Right For Me?

Silicone is also beneficial because it helps to create and maintain a full, well-rounded shape for the breasts.  It is generally the preferred type of implant for women who are thin and may not have a lot of natural breast tissue and those opting for an implant that is situated above the muscle of the chest wall.  Silicone implants are frequently the best option for women undergoing a breast reconstruction procedure as well.

Are Saline Implants Right For Me?

Saline implants may appear somewhat less natural than silicone as they can produce a rippling effect at the surface of the skin.  This is typically not a problem for women who have a larger quantity of breast tissue or for those having the implant placed below the pectoral muscle where any creases will not be visible.

Implant Incisions

The choice of a silicone implant will necessitate the surgeon making a slightly larger incision than what is necessary for a saline implant.  That is due to the techniques used for the implant placement.  Silicone implants are measured and filled prior to surgery, so the implant is placed at its full size.  In contrast, saline implants are placed as empty shells that are filled by the surgeon once they are in position, so the incision used is smaller.  However, with both types of implants, the incision will be made as inconspicuously as possible and any resultant scars will fade over time.

What are the risks of breast implants?

Both saline and silicone breast implants have been proven safe over the past several decades of use. The stability of gel-based silicone implants has significantly improved patient outcomes in terms of adverse reactions. The common risks of breast implants are often associated with general surgical risks, plus a few that are unique to this procedure. These include:

  • Risks associated with general anesthesia.
  • Infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • Scarring.
  • Fluid accumulation in the surgical area.
  • Persistent pain.
  • Rippling, or wrinkled skin over the implant.
  • Poor implant position.
  • Decreased breast or nipple sensation.
  • Implant leakage or rupture.
  • Capsular contracture, scarring around the implant.

Ruptured Saline Implant

Saline implants may rupture for a number of reasons, such as capsular contracture. Because these implants are relatively user-friendly, a rupture or leak is not viewed as a serious complication. The fluid that escapes the implant is biocompatible; the body will absorb it. However, there is reason to remove and replace the ruptured implant. When the deflated sac remains in place, scar tissue may form around it, making it difficult to replace the implant in a revision procedure.

Ruptured Silicone Implant

Saline implants, because they are much more form-stable than saline implants, are more likely to present as a “silent” rupture. There is no salient fluid that leaks from the silicone sac, so very little change in the shape of the breast may occur. However, a ruptured silicone implant could lead to complications such as calcified granulomas and mastitis, so prompt care for such an event is necessary. The FDA recommends mammography every three years for any woman with silicone breast implants. The earlier that the ruptured implant can be removed, the more conservative care may be.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about Silicone & Saline breast implants or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Greenberg, call (516) 364-4200

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