Silicone vs. Saline Breast Implants

breast implantsOnce I  learned about what types of breast implants were available, I wondered how one would choose which type to go with.  I wanted to know if silicone breast implants were better than saline breast implants, and what types of each are available.

I spent a lot of time talking with women who had had implants as well as doctors who perform surgery.  This is what I learned.

Silicone Breast Implants

Non Cohesive Gel Silicone

Pros:

    • Softer and more supple than saline, which makes them feel more “real”
    • Less likely to rupture than saline because they don’t fold or crease

Cons:

    • Because they come pre-filled, the incision for a silicone implant is larger and generally the only place it can be done is below the breast
    • Due to the fact that they leak very slowly if they’re ruptured (because the silicone is so thick) women with silicone implants are advised to have an MRI three years after surgery and every two years after that to check for ruptures

Cohesive Gel Silicone (Gummy Bear Implants)

Pros:

    • Very soft and supple, and blend well with surrounding breast tissue for a natural contour
    • Will retain their shape and not leak any silicone into the body if ruptured
    • Studies show cohesive gel implants have a lower risk of capsular contracture, although the reason for this is not known

Cons:

    • Currently, gummies only come in teardrop shape and not the round shape available in saline implants
    • Slightly firmer than regular silicone implants, which may be a drawback for some women
    • Although it is rare, teardrop shaped implants can rotate within the breast, requiring further surgery to reposition them

Saline Breast Implants

Pros:

    • Least expensive option
    • Requires a small incision because they are inserted empty and then filled
    • Small incision means there are more options for placement, including the nipple, belly button and armpit
    • Available with an inflation valve, allowing the surgeon to increase or decrease the size after surgery
    • If ruptured, saline is a natural solution readily absorbed into the body
    • Because they don’t come prefilled, saline implants are the best choice to correct breasts that are uneven in size or shape

Cons:

    • Because they’re essentially “water balloons,” saline implants don’t tend to move or feel like real breasts, unlike silicone which more closely mimics breast tissue
    • Saline implants can fold, pucker or ripple if you have thin skin
    • If they are ruptured, a saline implant will deflate very quickly (can you imagine how traumatic that would be??)

Everyone who decides to get a boob job does so for their own reasons and has their own requirements.

Although it wouldn’t be the choice everyone would make, I decided that if I were going to have surgery, I would choose the cohesive gel implants.  I felt that it would give the most realistic feel with the least risk.

You can read more about my other posts on surgical breast implants and costs in this list.

Natural Breast Enlargement

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