Saline vs. Silicone Breast Implants

One of the most important questions for patients considering breast augmentation surgery is whether or not to choose saline or silicone breast implants. Fortunately, for most patients, either type of breast implant is safe and will give a pleasing, long-lasting result.

Saline and silicone breast implants have essentially the same rupture rate, meaning a silicone breast implant has the same chance of leaking per year as a saline breast implant. Both types of breast implants are safe to use, and neither silicone nor saline breast implants have been linked to health problems or illnesses.

shutterstock_278020784Saline Breast Implants:

Pros-

1. In general, saline breast implants are much less expensive than silicone breast implants. At the Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa, a pair of saline breast implants costs approximately $1,000 less than a pair of silicone breast implants. Patients who are trying to keep the cost of their breast augmentation surgery as low as possible often choose saline breast implants simply because of the lower price.

2. If placed on top of the pectoralis muscle, most studies show that saline breast implants have a lower capsular contracture rate than silicone breast implants. However, as most breast implants, particularly saline breast implants, are placed under the pectoralis muscle, this is rarely an area of concern.

3. Rupture of a saline breast implant is easy to diagnose. If a saline breast implant ruptures, or leaks, the leaking fluid will be absorbed by the body over a period of days to a couple weeks, and the breast size will visibly decrease. Thus, expensive diagnostic tests are not necessary to diagnose rupture of a saline breast implant.

Cons-

1. For very thin patients, rippling of a saline breast implant is much more visible and palpable than with a silicone breast implant. For this reason, Dr. Traci Temmen advises thin patients considering saline breast implants to place the implant below the pectoralis major muscle. The additional coverage offered by the pectoralis muscle makes saline implant rippling much less noticeable.

2. Most patients and plastic surgeons agree that silicone breast implants look and feel more natural than saline breast implants. Saline implants tend to feel a little firmer and have more projection than a silicone breast implant.

Silicone Breast Implants:

Pros-

1. Silicone breast implants generally look and feel more natural than saline breast implants, particularly for thin patients with little overlying soft tissue coverage. Since their approval by the FDA in 2005, the vast majority of patients at the Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa choose silicone breast implants for their breast augmentation surgeries.

2. If necessary, silicone breast implants are available in round as well as shaped (a.k.a. anatomic) varieties.

Cons-

1. Silicone breast implants are only approved by the FDA for use in patients 22-years old and older. Patients younger than 22-years can choose to have their cosmetic breast augmentation with silicone breast implants, however, this will void the manufacturer’s warranty and is considered “off-label use” by the FDA.

2. Because rupture of a silicone breast implant is difficult to identify by physical examination, the FDA recommends that patients undergo an MRI three years after their breast augmentation surgery, then every two years thereafter. While many patients choose not to undergo routine MRI scanning, this is the only reliable way to diagnose leaking, or rupture, of a silicone breast implant.

For additional questions on breast augmentation with either saline or silicone breast implants, or for a free breast augmentation consultation, call Dr. Traci Temmen at the Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa today at 813-877-2277.

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