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How long do implants last?

Saline vs Silicone Implants

For many women considering cosmetic surgery, the feature they are most interested in enhancing is their breasts. Full, round breasts are closely associated with notions of femininity, fertility, and desirability, which unfortunately leaves many women who weren’t lucky enough to inherit the perfect pair feeling less confident and attractive than they would like. Some women feel like their breasts are way too small for their frame, while others may be looking to add additional volume, or simply create a rounder shape. The unfortunate truth is there isn’t much patients can do in the realm of lifestyle changes to alter breast shape and size – you can’t really “work out” your breasts! However, with the power and precision of plastic surgery, you can finally have the appearance of your dreams! Breast augmentation with implants is a safe and easy option for adding beautiful shape and volume to the breasts, all while minimizing scars and recovery time. In this post, I will explore this topic in further detail, as well as compare the two main types of breast implants: saline and silicone.

For patients interested in a breast augmentation procedure, one of the first decisions they will make with their plastic surgeon is choosing between saline and silicone breast implants. Saline implants consist of a silicone-based outer shell that is filled with saline, while silicone implants are composed of solid silicone throughout. From a health and safety standpoint, both implant types are FDA approved and safe options for patients when inserted by an experienced and skilled board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Traci Temmen. The only exception is that currently, the only implant type that is FDA approved for patients ages 18-21 is saline. Both saline and silicone implants have similarly low rates of complication and rupture. One advantage of saline implants is that a ruptured implant will immediately become obvious to the patient because it will deflate quickly as the sterile saline is harmlessly absorbed by the body. The rupture of a silicone implant, on the other hand, is usually not picked up by the naked eye because the implant will still hold its shape, and so must be diagnosed with MRI imaging.

The next point of comparison that is very important to patients is the look and feel of the implants. As previously discussed, saline implants are filled with a saltwater solution and so have more of a “water balloon” feel to them. Patients who choose for their implant to be inserted underneath the pectoralis muscle, or who already have abundant overlying breast tissue, can achieve a natural look with this type of implant. However, patients who want their implant placed on top of the muscle closer to the surface and who have little overlying tissue may find that their saline implants show more wrinkling or rippling through the skin. In comparison, silicone implants are made of solid silicone, and so have more of a “gummy bear” feel to them that is designed to more closely mimic breast tissue. In particular, women who have little overlying breast tissue or who plan to have their implant inserted on top of their pectoralis muscle may find that this implant type creates a more natural look and feel. Dr. Temmen works closely with her patients to identify the implant type that best suits their body, lifestyle, and aesthetic desires.

When it comes to insertion, there are a few differences between saline and silicone implants. Saline implants are inserted deflated, and then filled with sterile saline solution once in place. This enables the line of incision to be a little bit smaller, and also allows tiny adjustments to be made to the final implant volume in the operating room to achieve that perfect look. Silicone implants, on the other hand, are solid and so cannot be inserted “deflated” like saline ones can. Thus, the line of incision may need to be slightly longer in order to accommodate the size of the implant. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Traci Temmen is skilled and experienced at multiple methods of implant insertion to ensure that her patients have the least noticeable scars possible, usually only about 1.5 to 2 inches in length and well-concealed. These methods include making the incision around the areola (the darker area surrounding the nipple), in the axilla (the armpit), or in the inframammary fold (the crease underneath the breast). Many patients love the axillary approach to implant insertion because the scars are discretely located in the natural crease of the armpit, leaving absolutely no marks on the breasts. Dr. Temmen is an expert at breast augmentation using any of these techniques, and works one-on-one with each patient to ensure that they have a beautiful result with the most invisible scars possible.

Hopefully this post helped shed some light on the similarities and differences between the two main types of implants used in breast augmentation. If you still have questions, or are interested in finding out if you are a candidate for breast augmentation or any other cosmetic surgery procedure, call 813-771-6393 to book your one-on-one consultation with Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Traci Temmen, MD, today!