Breast Implants: Silicone vs Saline

Many women present for consultation for breast augmentation ans want to know if they should use saline or silicone implants. Although the choice is a personal one, there is some information that patients should consider before choosing between saline or silicone implants.

The outer shell of both silicone and saline implants is made of a solid silicone material. Solid silicone is widely used in implantable medical devices. In contrast, silicone gel implants are filled with silicone gel, which is a semi-solid. Saline-filled implants are filled with the same kind of salt water that is used in I.V. fluids. Silicone gel filled implants tend to feel softer and provide a more natural look and feel. Saline implants feel slightly firmer but can still give a natural appearance when an appropriate size is chosen for the person’s body.

What if my implant ruptures? If the implant ruptures and it is salt water, the water is simply absorbed by the body. If this should occur it would require an operation to remove the deflated implant and replace it. If a silicone gel implant has a tear in the outer shell often it is not apparant clinically. To detect a rupture the Gold Standard for diagnoisis is an MRI. If a rupture is detected in a silicone gel implant it would also require an operation to remove the implant and replace it.

All patients who are 22 years of age or older are possible candidates for silicone gel implants. Saline implants can be used for any patient who is 18 years or older for primary breast augmenation. If a patient wishes to have silicone gel implants and is not 22 years old exceptions can be made if clincially indicated. This is considered an ‘off label’ use of the silicone gel implants.

Choosing the right implant for each person is a personal choice. I discuss both options with my patients during their consultation to assist them in making a choice that is right for them and the look they are trying to achieve.


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