Silicone Versus Saline Breast Augmentation Implants
There are only two choices in the selection of breast augmentation implants. These are silicone or saline. Both of these choices have been around for many years and are offered by most surgeons. They both have their pros and cons. But in my mind there is a clear winner.
Saline implants have been around for a very long time and at one point were the only option. The positive aspects of saline implants are that they are less expensive, easier to put in and when they eventually break down there is no “cleanup” of the silicone. On the other hand they have many drawbacks. First of all they do not feel natural. Unless a person has a great deal of breast tissue already to cover the implant the implants feel firmer and harder. They feel more like a water bed then a breast. In addition, this breast augmentation implants have issues with wrinkling and rippling and probability. This wrinkling and rippling can be felt just under the skin or it can even be visible. The biggest drawback, however, of saline implants is that they are more likely to move. Because of the water hammer effect where the bulk of the water moves up and down and from side to side with a certain amount of force millions of times over the years the implants are more likely to cause drooping and stretching of the breast. They’re more likely to travel down the chest or off to the side. In addition they are also more likely to cause thinning of the skin with the end result being a very unnatural looking breast which has been stretched out, is very droopy, and has visible wrinkles and ripples. This particular problem is extremely difficult to fix, requiring a lift as well as internal bolstering of the pocket holding the implants with additional biomaterial. This is a difficult and expensive surgery.
Silicone implants are the other option. They feel soft and natural like normal breast tissue. They are less likely to cause stretching or move over the years. They are slightly more likely to cause capsular contracture, that is hardening of the scar tissue around the implant. When they eventually need to be exchanged is a little bit more surgery to do the X plantation and removal but not significantly so.
Looking at the pros and cons of each of the breast augmentation implants, the only thing that I see as an advantage of saline implants is that they are cheaper. This is not a reason to select a product that you will keep for many many years because the difference in price is not that significant. The supposed health issues of silicone implants seem to have been involved with earlier generations mainly due to the mechanical properties of the silicone. This has been changed with the fifth-generation so-called Gummi Bear Implants. Silicone implants are softer feel more natural and just plain look better. Whenever I do intraoperative sizing we use a saline Sizer. 100% of the time when we exchange this for a silicone implant the breast looks better. In the past when we used only saline implants, a number of women came back when silicone was available. There are very few things in medicine or in life that are 100%. However 100% of the patients replacing their saline implants for silicone preferred the silicone implants. So therefore, it is not simply my opinion that silicone is better but all of the patients that have had the chance for a comparison.
Check out these Buzzfeed videos of people feeling breast implants for the first time:
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