Silicone and Saline Breast Implants

Many women would love to get breast implants. Whether you have two breasts of different sizes, need reconstructive surgery after battling breast cancer or simply want larger breasts, this is no small surgery. Before you spend your life savings on breast implants, weigh the pros and cons of the procedure. Remember, every medical procedure comes with risk. There's really no such thing as a 100% safe medical procedure.

Types of Implants
When planning to get breast implants, the main decision you'll have to make will be whether you want saline or silicone implants. Regardless of the type of implant you choose, the casing of the implant will be made of silicone. Even though every implant has a silicone surface, you still have a couple of options. You can choose either a smooth implant or a textured casing. The difference lies in the composition of the implant, which can be either saline or silicone gel. Also, both types of implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Feel and Appearance
Aside from the look of breast implants, many women also want implants that feel natural. Unfortunately, while there are many advantages to saline implants, they don't feel nearly as natural as silicone implants. Instead, saline implants feel similar to water balloons. However, placement of the saline implant can change how it feels to the touch. Also, saline implants tend to ripple and wrinkle much more than silicone implants. Rippling is due to the interaction of the saline solution and the silicone shell. Women who have thin skin will show this rippling every more.

Incision and Placement
You'll have to choose where you want the incision to be made. You can have the incision at the location where your breast and chest meet, which is called inframammary; at the nipple, which is called periareolar; at the armpit, which is called transaxillary; or at the belly button, which is called TUBA. There are a few different positions for your implants. You can have them placed over the muscle, which is called subglandular or under the muscle, which is called complete submuscular. You can also have the upper two-thirds of each implant covered by muscle. This position is called partial submuscular.

Saline vs. Silicone Implants: Incision and Resizing
Saline implants require a shorter incision than silicone implants. The reason for this is that saline implants are filled with the solution after they're placed in the body, not before. Silicone implants, on the other hand, are filled with gel before they're placed in the chest. Saline implants are beneficial because the size of them can be adjusted after being implanted. Your doctor will be able to fill the implants with solution or even remove some solution if the implants are too big. Silicone implants, however, cannot be adjusted once they are implanted.

Rupture Risk
One of the main worries of women with breast implants is that one of both of their implants will rupture, releasing the fluid into the body. This is where the advantages of saline implants come into play. If a saline implant ruptures, it really doesn't have any harm for the woman. Saline is just saltwater. If an implant were to burst, the saline would simply be absorbed into the body, causing no harm. Also, when a saline implant breaks, it's immediately noticeable because it will quickly deflate. This means that you can book an appointment with your doctor the second your saline implant breaks.

Silicone implants, on the other hand, aren't as safe as saline implants in this respect. When a silicone implant breaks, the gel will slowly leak out and you may not even notice that there's a problem for a while. According to the FDA, women with silicone implants should get an MRI every three years two ensure there isn't a problem. Regardless of the type of implant you have, though, any implant that bursts should be removed and replaced.

Issues with Silicone Gel
There's been some controversy when it comes to silicone implants. The concern is what happens to the woman's body if silicone gel leaks from the implant. After several women claimed that leaked silicone gel caused diseases in their autoimmune system and connective tissue, the FDA took silicone breasts off the market in 1992. However, when the FDA looked into these claims, they weren't able to find a connection between the silicone gel and the diseases. In 2006, silicone implants were reintroduced to the healthcare industry. Today, silicone implants are approved by the FDA for women of any age who require breast reconstruction. For women who are simply seeking breast augmentation for esthetic purposes, silicone implants are allowed to be implanted in women 22 years old and up.


Dr Gilbert Tresley
Illinois plastic surgeon Dr Tresley specializes in face lifts, eyelid lifts, botox, rhinoplasty, and chin augmentation.
Robert Peterson MD
Dr Peterson is well respected as a surgeon with a gentle manner who can create extraordinary improvements while maintaining a very natural look.
Reza Nabavian MD
Dr. Nabavian is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. In addition, he is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery.
Michael Zarrabi MD
Dr. Zarrabi performs all aspects of plastic surgery including cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery, liposuction, laser resurfacing, tummy tuck, eyelid, and nasal surgery.
Michael Law MD
Dr. Law is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
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