When considering a breast augmentation in San Francisco, the decision between silicone and saline implants holds significant weight. Whether it is for reconstructive purposes or to enhance your personal sense of self, the implants you choose will have a lasting impact.
While breast implants are not permanent, as some might assume, they are designed to endure for many years. Hence, selecting the appropriate type initially becomes crucial in order to avoid unnecessary future surgeries.
However, before narrowing down the options, you’ll first have to decide whether to get saline breast implants or silicone implants.
While both have their upsides and downsides, one is likely to fit your needs better than the other. Below, you can learn more about the benefits of each, and a few reasons it might not be the best option for you. If you have further questions after reading, please feel free to get in touch.
First, a note on safety.
THE TRUTH ABOUT SAFETY, Saline vs Silicone IMPLANT
For decades, many people were convinced when it came to silicone vs saline implants that silicone was not as safe as saline for implants. Saline breast implants are simply a solution of water and salt, the concentration of silicone and saline being similar to that of tears, blood and body fluids.
Intuitively, it does seem as though saline breast implants would be safer, as your body consists of a huge portion of it anyway. However, while popular belief for years held that silicone implants were related to health risks and immunological diseases, there is no evidence to support this claim today.
The only known medical risk of implants is breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), which is an extremely rare type of cancer that develops only around textured breast implants. BIA-ALCL is a highly treatable cancer; most patients have an excellent prognosis following the removal of the breast implants and surrounding capsule.
Overall, both breast with silicone and saline implants, appear equally safe, according to current medical literature. The chance of rupturing is not greater in one than the other, either, although the response to and detection of ruptures is different (covered below). The bottom line with safety is that, while you need to be aware of certain issues with Saline and Silicone Implants, neither wins out on risk factor – so you can read on with a clear head.
SALINE BREAST IMPLANTS: THE PROS AND CONS
Why I chose saline breast implants? Saline is simple, sterile saltwater. Your body already contains a ton of it, so it’s pretty much guaranteed to be safe. Many women still feel more comfortable with saline filled implants knowing that the substance inside their bodies will be natural. However, it should be noted that even saline implants are contained within a silicone outer covering.
Another benefit is that when saline implants break, it is very obvious. Because the body absorbs saline through the barrier that forms around the implant capsule, the natural breast tissue will rapidly “deflate” if the implant breaks. Within just a few days, the breast will have lost all the fullness associated with the implant. Thus, no detection system is needed.
Saline, because it is water, ripples with movement. This can look very unnatural, especially if a woman does not have a significant amount of existing breast tissue to cover the implant. For some women, this might make them less likely to feel confident wearing swimwear or revealing clothing.
SILICONE Implants: THE PROS AND CONS
The main pro of silicone is that it looks and feels more natural than saline. Silicone gel implants keeps its shape, unlike rippling water. This is especially useful for the teardrop-shaped implants that mimic the natural breast shape, eliminating the appearance of roundness at the top of the breast with normal round implants. Some women choose the teardrop shape for this reason.
Contrary to unfounded claims, there is no medically determined increase in risk of capsular contracture, or the hardening of breast tissue around the implant, when you opt for silicone. To date, researchers have not yet conducted meta-studies to see which type results in more breast hardening, but most physicians will tell you they don’t see a statistically significant difference between implant types in their patients.
The main con regarding silicone breast implants is that it is impossible to detect when they rupture without an ultrasound or an MRI. Because silicone implants
does not penetrate the barrier around the implant (which is good, since it doesn’t enter the body), the breast does not lose shape. Therefore, a woman could conceivably have breast pain or have a ruptured implant for years and not notice it.
For that reason, the FDA recommends magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs) three years after implant placement and every two years thereafter. This scan likely won’t be covered by insurance for elective breast augmentation patients, making silicone possibly more expensive long-term. However, screening alternatives to MRI like ultrasound are becoming more mainstream.
Questions and Answers about Breast Augmentation with Implants
Which implant is better saline or silicone?
Saline implants tend to have a firmer, fuller, and rounder appearance compared to silicone implants, potentially resulting in a less natural look and feel than natural breasts. Nevertheless, by tailoring the size and positioning, it is possible to achieve a more natural aesthetic with these implants.
Does silicone or saline implants last longer?
Typically, saline implants have an average lifespan of 10-20 years, while thicker silicone gel implants can last between 20-40 years. Among the two types of breast implants, saline implants have a higher probability of rupturing and are more susceptible to “rippling.” This refers to the visibility of the implant’s edges or creases through the skin.
Why I chose Saline Implants?
Saline implants offer benefits in terms of affordability, adaptability, addressing mammography concerns, and managing potential leakage.
TALK TO A PLASTIC SURGEON ABOUT SALINE VS. SILICONE IMPLANT
Of course, even if you have a pretty good idea of Saline vs. Silicone Implant, you’ll still need to discuss your options with your plastic surgeon. They will help clarify any outstanding questions about breast implant illness, saline and silicone implant ruptures, and asses the benefits for your lifestyle and make the choice that works for you long-term.
If you’re ready to learn more about having a San Francisco breast augmentation surgery procedure, Dr. Sieber would love to hear from you!