Breast Augmentation: Saline Implants vs Silicone Implants
Recent studies have shown that memory gel breast implants are safer than saline breast implants.
Nowadays when patients undergo breast implant cosmetic surgery, silicone gel is used for the actual implants using a more cohesive gel and a more durable shell than in earlier generations of implant. New studies have now shown that these new-generation gel implants are safer than saline filled alternatives.
Silicone breast implants have a bit of a bad reputation and at one point, the FDA put a moratorium on the use of gel filled implants for cosmetic surgery purposes. However in 2006, advances in gel filled implants meant that the FDA once again approved the use of silicone implants in breast augmentation surgery.
The big difference between silicone and saline implants is when they are filled. Saline implants come as a shell. After the plastic surgery has put them into place, the shell is filled with saline. With silicone implants, the shell is pre-filled so the cosmetic surgery just puts them into place and doesn’t need to fill the shell.
However saline implants can be inserted in four different ways – the armpit, the belly button, under the breast, or the outside of the areola. The incisions needed for saline implants are typically smaller than those made for silicone implants as the shell is initially empty.
The major difference between the two types of silicone implants are the fillings – old implants used liquid silicone whereas today’s implants tend to use cohesive gel instead. Most patients tend to opt for silicone breast implants over saline implants. However the FDA specify that to have gel filled implants, you must be at least 22 years old therefore anyone under the age of 22 who undergoes breast implant surgery is likely to have saline-filled breast implants.
The Disadvantages of Silicone Implants
Silicone implant ruptures are harder to detect than saline ruptures. This is because when the implant ruptures, the silicone gel may leak out into the breast without a visible difference as the body will not absorb the gel. With saline implants, the body will start to absorb any leaked fluid therefore the change in volume is easy to see.
Also, the size of silicone implants cannot be changed without further cosmetic surgery
The Disadvantages of Saline Implants
Saline implants tend not to look as natural as silicone implants, especially if the patient has small breasts or if the surgery is reconstructive surgery. Some women have also noted that during sport or other physical activities, saline implants can make ‘liquid’ sounds.