Understanding the Difference Between Silicone vs. Saline Implants

When determining the specifics of which type of breast implants you want for your breast augmentation procedure, deciding between silicone vs. saline is arguably the most important decision you will make. Dr. Ashish K. Jain and Dr. Spencer R. Anderson of Columbus Plastic Surgery, P.C. in Columbus, GA, can help guide you through the advantages and drawbacks of the two materials, and how each option can help you achieve your treatment goals. Knowing what each type can provide and the different variables to consider can help you make an educated decision so you are completely satisfied with your results.

Gloved hands holding breast implants
Choosing between silicone and saline implants is one of the most important decisions to ensure you are satisfied with your results. 

Material and Texture

Both saline and silicone implants are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are deemed safe and effective for breast augmentation. While both have a silicone shell, the material used inside differs. Saline breast implants are made with a sterile, biocompatible salt-water solution, while silicone implants contain a dense, gel-like material.

Silicone implants are lighter in weight and are better able to mimic natural breast tissue, providing more natural-looking results. They are often recommended for patients who are undergoing breast reconstruction. The silicone implants can have a smooth outer shell or a textured outer shell.  Saline implants, although more cost-effective, are heavier in weight and have a tendency to ripple as a result of pressure from nearby tissue. This can often be seen in thinner patients or patients who have their implants placed above the pectoral muscles.  The surgeons at Columbus Plastic Surgery, P.C. will help you decide what type of implants are best suited for you.

Incision Lines and Placement

Saline and silicone implants require different incision lines and placement during breast augmentation surgery. While silicone implants are pre-filled, saline implants are generally filled once inserted. Because saline implants are filled after placement, they can be inserted using smaller incisions. Though the incision line is longer with silicone implants, our surgeons will make sure the incisions are minimal and easily concealed, by using a special device called The Keller Funnel®2.

Ruptures and Complications

Although implants provide beautiful and lasting results, it is important to understand they are not designed to last a lifetime and complications, such as ruptures, can occur. When a rupture occurs with saline implants, there are no health risks involved. The implant will deflate quickly and the body will naturally absorb the material. A follow-up procedure will be required to remove and replace the outer shell.

Both saline and silicone implants are approved by the FDA and deemed safe and effective for breast augmentation.

When a silicone implant ruptures, the leak is usually slow and undetectable. Surgery will be required to remove the fluid and shell from within your breast tissue, and may require additional healing until implants can be replaced. To help with detecting ruptures and preventing serious complications, the FDA recommends that patients undergo an MRI screening (magnetic resonance imaging) three years after implant placement, followed by screenings every two years.

Variables to Consider

When choosing which option is best for you, there are several factors that should be considered, such as:

  • Aesthetics: Silicone both looks and feels more like breast tissue. Saline implants tend to feel firmer and can make breasts appear overly full. This is more noticeable on smaller-statured patients.
  • Scars: If scarring is a concern, saline implants result in a smaller, less visible incision lines.
  • Risks: Because implant rupture is a possibility for both saline and silicone implants, it is important to understand the risks involved. Your body will naturally absorb the saline solution, while silicone will remain inside your body until the leak is detected. Both will require a follow-up surgery to remove the implant shells.
  • Cost: Saline implants are generally less expensive than silicone options.

Learn More During Your Consultation

If you are considering breast augmentation, it is important to choose a knowledgeable and experienced surgeon to perform your procedure. Our surgeons at Columbus Plastic Surgery, P.C. would be glad to meet with you to discuss the pros and cons of silicone and saline implants. Contact our office today online or call at (706) 322-9313 to schedule your consultation with one of our trusted and highly trained surgeons.

Dr. Jain of Columbus Plastic Surgery

Columbus Plastic Surgery

When you choose Columbus Plastic Surgery, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. Our compassionate team of specially trained doctors strives to provide each patient with the utmost care. Our doctors are professionally affiliated with nationally recognized organizations including:

  • American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

To schedule a consultation at our Columbus, GA, office serving the needs of local patients and those in the surrounding communities of LaGrange and Auburn, contact us online or call (706) 322-9313 today.

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"This doctor has made my breast cancer journey a lot easier. Dr Jain is very professional, informative and always takes his time to listen to his patients. He has a wonderful and caring staff as well. I am very satisfied with his work and will recommend him to anyone."

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