Saline vs. Silicone Breast Implants

Saline vs. Silicone Breast Implants

When preparing for breast augmentation surgery, one of the most important decisions you’ll make as part of the consultation process is which type of implant you will get. Though there are many different brands with slightly different offerings of implants, the two major types you have to choose from are silicone-filled and saline-filled implants. We’ll examine these two types of breast implants to help you decide which one is right for you and your aesthetic goals.

Breast Implant Shells

Before addressing the saline vs. silicone decision, there’s actually one other choice you must make. Both saline and silicone breast implants are constructed with a silicone shell that is filled with either saline or silicone. These shells can be smooth or textured, which will affect the end result, almost as much as what’s inside.

  • Smooth Implants – This type of shell makes the implant able to roll and shift in the breast pocket which simulates the feel of a more natural breast.
  • Textured Implants – Textured shells allow the body to grow tissue into the gaps and crevices of the shell, holding the implant more stiffly in place.

There are a variety of texture variations offered by different breast implant manufacturers. During your consultation with Dr. Kayastha, you will discuss your options and agree on the right breast implant texture to achieve your desired results.

Saline Breast Implants

These implants are silicone shells that are filled with a sterile saltwater solution. Some come pre-filled but others can be filled after the shell has been inserted. While typically cheaper than silicone-filled implants, saline implants may not feel as natural in the body. These implants are FDA-approved for anyone over 18 years old.

Pros of Saline Breast Implants

Because saline implants can be inserted and then filled, the incision, and therefore the scar, may be smaller than for a pre-filled silicone implant. Saline implants can be hundreds of dollars cheaper than silicone, bringing down the overall cost of the breast augmentation procedure.

Cons of Saline Implants

A common complaint from women with saline breast implants is that the consistency isn’t as natural as silicone implants. To put it simply, since saline implants are filled with water, they tend to have the consistency of water as opposed to breast tissue. This also means you may feel a sense of sloshing with quick movements.

Saline implants can also develop wrinkles or ripples, which, if there isn’t enough skin covering the implant, can be visible on the surface.

Baffled Saline Implants

One option you may have when choosing saline vs. silicone is what’s called a baffled saline implant. This type of implant is designed to reduce the typical negative side effects of saline implants like rippling and sloshing. A baffled saline implant has an internal structure made of dozens of little channels or tunnels, as opposed to the single sac of a normal implant. This means the saline can’t move around as much, providing a more natural feel without the use of silicone.

Ask Dr. Kayastha during your initial consultation if baffled saline implants may be right for you.

Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone implants are filled with a synthetic gel that attempts to simulate the natural look and feel of breast tissue. The specific consistency of the gel, whether more or less firm, depends on your current breasts and your desired results. Silicone implants are only approved for use in people over the age of 22.

Pros of Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone is the most popular type of breast implant, with around 70% of women undergoing breast augmentation surgery choosing it over saline. This is largely due to the more natural look and feel that silicone gel affords, in addition to the wider variety of shapes and sizes available. During your consultations with the team at K Plastic Surgery, you will discuss all your options for silicone breast implants to achieve the most natural results possible.

Cons of Silicone Implants

Because silicone implants are all pre-filled, the incision required to implant them is larger than that for saline implants. This results in a larger scar and potentially longer recovery time. In addition, silicone implants are more expensive than saline and typically require regular MRI scans to check for ruptures, which may not be covered by your health insurance.

What Happens to Ruptured Breast Implants?

No breast implant, silicone or saline, is designed to last forever. Eventually, they will rupture and begin leaking into the body, causing deformation of the breast as well as discomfort and soreness.

Ruptured Saline Implants

Since the solution in saline implants is sterile, it poses no risk to the body when it leaks and will be naturally reabsorbed. Saline implant ruptures are easily noticeable and will require surgery to remove. During breast implant removal, you can have another set of implants inserted at the time if desired.

Ruptured Silicone Implants

Unlike saline, silicone cannot be naturally reabsorbed by the body when the implant ruptures. This can lead to “silent rupture” if the tissue surrounding the leaking implant forms fibrous tissue and traps the gel. While unlikely to cause serious health problems, a ruptured silicone breast implant can lead to pain and discomfort if not surgically removed by a board-certified plastic surgeon.

 The Choice of Saline or Silicone is Yours

When it comes down to it, both saline and silicone breast implants have their own unique pros and cons. There’s a wide variety of silicone consistencies, shapes, and sizes, which makes them a popular choice when it comes to breast augmentation. But with the ability to fill them to a precise and customizable amount, saline implants may be better suited to achieve your goals.

With all the options on the market, it can be hard to reach a specific decision about your breast implant surgery on your own. That’s why the team at K Plastic Surgery is here to help you navigate this decision and give you the most natural result for your breast augmentation. Give us a call at 518-674-9060 or contact us online today to start a conversation about helping you feel your most naturally confident self.

+ posts

Dr. Kayastha is a board certified plastic surgeon who serves Albany, NY and the entire Capital Region. Dr. Kayastha completed his undergraduate studies at Cornell University and graduated with distinction in all subjects. He then attended medical school at SUNY Buffalo. During his time in Buffalo he also completed a fellowship in surgical pathology at Roswell Park. Following medical school Dr. Kayastha gained a much sought after position in the Michigan State-Grand Rapids integrated plastic surgery residency. After finishing residency training Dr. Kayastha completed a one year fellowship in hand and microsurgery at the Buncke Clinic in San Francisco. To round out his training before starting private practice Dr. Kayastha spent an additional 6 months learning from some of the best cosmetic surgeons in San Francisco. Dr. Kayastha is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.