Silicone vs Saline Implants: Making An Informed Choice For Cosmetic Surgery

Implants

These days, pretty much everyone gets breast implants. It’s really almost like a rite of passage at this point. However, if you’re to go to any cosmetic surgeon, they’d probably ask if you want to get a silicone implant or a saline one. 

In this article, we’ll look into the saline vs silicone implants debate to see which might be best for you.

Silicone Breast Implants: Are They The Industry Standard?

breast implants

To kick off the argument about silicone vs saline implants, let’s look into what each option is and what it could offer you.

As the name suggests, a silicone implant is one that’s made of silicone. For those who might not know, silicone is a synthetic material that is used across multiple industries. For cosmetic surgeries, however, the material is especially popular because it provides a similar feeling to that of human fat. So, they fit naturally in the body. 

Most silicone implants come with cases, which are filled with the silicone gel itself. You can find them in different sizes and shapes, all depending on the size of the implant you’re looking to get. Just as well, these silicone implants come in different thickness profiles, with cohesiveness and firmness also varying based on the option you choose. 

The firmer options among the silicone breast implants procedure are mostly referred to as “gummy bear” implants, thanks to their unique profile. So, when considering the saline vs silicone vs gummy bear implants debate, you now know which is which.

Picking the right option for your desired shape and size should always be done with the help of a surgeon. However, you should also keep in mind that you’d need to be no less than 22 to get these implants – except in very special circumstances such as a possible breast reduction. In truth, there is no law that mandates this. However, most implant manufacturers won’t cater to younger patients or honor their warranties.

Key Characteristics & Properties Of Silicone Breast Implants 

Some key characteristics about silicone implants include: 

  • Material Composition: As explained earlier, ideal implants made from this material come with the silicone outer shell, which houses the inner silicone gel. Silicone is popular for its flexibility, durability, and interness, which makes it great for both medical and non-medical applications
  • Breast Augmentation: In most cases, you see silicone implants being used in the breast augmentation fat transfer process. You can find different sizes of implants based on your personal preference, although it is important to speak with your surgeon about your body type and which of the sizes will work for you. 

Considering that the silicone gel will have to be designed to mimic the natural feel of breast tissue, remember to consult with your doctor.

  • Breast Reconstruction: You can also find silicone implants being used in breast reconstruction surgeries. In the case of a mastectomy or some other traumatic event, a woman might need to reconstruct her breasts, and silicone implants will help to restore a more natural feeling and appearance. 
  • Facial Augmentation: Besides breast-related cosmetic procedures, silicone implants are also notable for their use in facial augmentation. You can place the implants in your jawline, chin, cheeks, and anywhere else to improve  your facial contours and get a more stable facial appearance. 
  • Longevity: In general, these implants are built to last quite long. However, it is important to note that they are not lifetime products. You might choose to replace or remove your implants over time due to a number of reasons – personal preference changes in your bodies, or perhaps even possible complications. 

We recommend getting the right information from a medical professional before having these implants installed. Alternatively, you can contact us at Legenday and we’ll be able to help set up a consultation.

Pros and Cons of Silicone Implants

Over the years, silicone has pretty much become the de facto material for developing implants. However, like everything else, there are general pros and cons to using this material in implants. 

Before you undergo your surgical procedure, it is important to consider some of these factors and discuss with with qualified professionals:

Pros Of Silicone Implants:

  • Natural Feel and Appearance: Easily the most prominent benefit of silicone implants is the fact that they offer a more natural appearance and feel. This is especially true for breast augmentation – the implants look and feel like breast tissue, so they blend easily with the skin.
  • Variety of Shapes and Sizes: Regardless of your body type and preference, you can rest assured that you can find silicone implants available for you. This makes it easier for you to enjoy a more customized procedure that fits your body.
  • Less Rippling: This is one of the biggest issues in the saline vs silicone implant debate. With silicone, you get a lesser chance of ripping or wrinkling. In fact, one of the most common breast augmentation recovery tips for people with thin breast tissue is to get silicone implants. 
  • Stability and Durability: Over the years, innovations in implant design have led to higher levels of stability and durability for silicone implants. So, they hold on to their consistency and shape over time. 
  • Incision Options: Compared to other implant variants, the silicone ones are implanted through smaller incisions. So, you have less silicone implant rupture side effects and a lower potential for scarring. 
  • Lower Risk of Deflation: Nothing spoils implants like deflation. And,  when handling saline vs silicone breast implants comparison, you’d find that silicone implants have a less likelihood of changing shape – even in the event of a rupture. Of course, it is still important to keep an eye on the implants to ensure that a rupture doesn’t even happen in the first place. 

Cons Of Silicone Implants:

  • Rupture Detection: One of the many challenges with silicone implants is the fact that they rupture silently. Essentially, the implant shell breaks, and you barely notice a thing – unlike a saline implant rippling, which is noticeable. Because of this, you need to conduct regular MRI scans to make sure they’re still in good shape.
  • Longevity: While silicone implants are designed to be durable, remember that they’re not to be used for the rest of your life. At some point, you’d need to remove or replace them and go through the breast augmentation recovery stages again.  
  • Potential for Leakage: In the event of a rupture, you might find that the silicone gel might leak into surrounding tissues. But, the latest in breast augmentation technology have been designed to minimize the risk of silicone implant leakage. 
  • Cost: You’ll find that silicone implants tend to be more expensive than the saline counterparts. Just like that, the cost to replace saline implants is less than that of the silicone variant. 
  • Incision Size: With silicone implants, the incisions are indeed smaller. Still, there are cases when you might require larger incisions due to their pre-filled form.
  • Regulations and Safety: Although they are generally considered safe, there are still concerns about the overall safety of silicone implants in general. So, remember to stay informed about the latest research and recommendations. 
  • MRI Monitoring: You also need to conduct frequent MRI screenings to detect possible implant ruptures. And, in the long run, this adds to the maintenance and cost of the implants.

Saline Breast Implants: Why Should You Get This Option?

Plastic surgeon Boucq displays a silicone gel breast implant manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) in a clinic in Nice
Plastic surgeon Denis Boucq displays a silicone gel breast implant manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) in a clinic in Nice December 26, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Although silicone implants have kind of become the industry standard, saline implants are actually much older.

The implants have been in use since the 60s, combining an outer shell made of silicone with an empty inner shell. When the implant is then inserted, a sterile saltwater material is put into the shell, taking the shape of the implant. 

With this insertion mechanism, the general insertion site of the saline implant is much smaller – and even less noticeable. And, it is another point in the saline vs silicone breast implants debate.

In general, saline implants are seen by many to be slightly firmer than the natural feeling of the breast tissue. This is mostly because they can sometimes be overfilled. However, while you might think that these are saline implants side effects, the overfilling can actually help to reduce the risk of  wrinkling or rippling.

You should also know about baffled saline implants – essentially, implants that come with water in different chambers, thus moving less quickly and possibly reducing the sloshing of the implants. 

In another point for the saline implants vs silicone debate, you should know that the former tend to be more readily available. As long as you’re over the age of 18, you can get a saline implant installed. 

Critical Components Of Saline Implants

  • Material Composition: To begin with, saline implants come with our shells that are made of silicone. However, the inner part of the implant is filled with a sterile saltwater solution. Considering that the solution is similar to bodily fluid, it is generally considered safe.  
  • Customizable Volume: As you can imagine, you can easily adjust the volume of a saline implant that’s used in a procedure. This is a major difference in the silicone vs saline breast implants debate, as you can imagine – silicone implants come pre-filed, while saline implants are field when they are put in the body.
  • Rippling and Firmness: Saline implants tend to have a slightly firmer feel compared to natural breast tissue. Just as well, it won’t be a surprise to see the saline implants mold ripple or wrinkle over time. This risk is especially prominent for people with thin breast tissue.
  • Rupture Detection: Another benefit of saline implants is the fact that the sterile solution isn’t harmful to the body. So, if the implant ruptures, it is simply absorbed by the body. Just as well, when considering silicone vs saline breast implants, remember that saline implant rupture side effects are generally very noticeable. Once you notice that the breast’s volume has dropped, you know it’s been damaged. 
  • Incision Size: Saline implants are typically inserted into the body empty and then filled after placement. Thanks to this mechanism, you get a much smaller incision profile – especially when compared to pre-filled silicone implants.
  • Cost: When considering silicone vs saline implants for reconstruction, remember that saline implants tend to be less expensive than the silicone variants. So, for people working on a budget, saline implants are much better.
  • Less Natural Feel: As a result of their much more rigid structure, you might not necessarily get the same natural feeling from saline implants as you’d get from the silicone variants. Still, this isn’t to say that some people don’t prefer this firmer feeling.

Of course, you should remember to speak with a professional to learn more about these implants and how they might be better for you. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Saline Implants 

Compared to other implant types, you get two sides of a coin with saline implants. Here’s an overview of where these implants shine and where they could be better:

Advantages of Saline Implants:

  • Adjustable Volume: The working mechanism of a saline breast implant is for it to be filled with a saltwater solution once it is interested into the body. Thanks to this mechanism, a surgeon can decide how much liquid they’d like to have inside the implant – thus making it easier to achieve symmetry between both breasts and accommodate adjustments.
  • Rupture Detection: When there is a rupture in a saline implant, you see it immediately. This deflation is noticeable, and you can easily detect and make remediations in a way that won’t post any health challenges.
  • Smaller Incisions: Since the saltwater is added after the implant is inserted, you don’t need large incisions for saline implants. This is a major difference in the comparison of silicon vs saline implants.
  • Safety Record: Saline implants have been used for longer and are more known for their safety. You have less risks of leakage, and even if the implants leak, they are easily absorbed into the body.
  • Cost: Remember – when comparing the saline vs silicone implants cost, saline implants come out on top for their affordability.

Disadvantages of Saline Implants:

  • Feel and Aesthetics: Easily the biggest drawback of saline implants is the fact that they don’t necessarily mimic the natural texture of the breasts. It is one major area where silicone edges out in the saline breast implants vs silicone  debate, and it is especially prominent in women with thin breast tissues. 
  • Rippling: There is also a higher chance of wrinkling or rippling when you’re dealing with saline implants. This is especially important with women with insufficient natural breast tissue to cover the implant. As such, the overall appearance of the implants will be affected considerably.
  • Less Natural Appearance: Another consequence of the firmer feel that comes with saline implants is the fact that they can ripple easier. As such, they don’t offer the same natural look and appearance that comes with silicone implants. Once again, this is especially a threat for women with minimal breast tissue.
  • Potential for Deflation: While the general process of rupture detection is straightforward with saline implants, the risk of implant deflation due to rupture is also high. So, you might need to get a replacement sooner rather than later.
  • Limited Profile Options: You might not necessarily have so many options with saline implants when it comes to the profile and shape. As such, they might not necessarily be able to achieve some critical aesthetic objective.
  • Maintenance of Volume: As time goes on, it’s not uncommon for you to see saline implants lose their volume. As such, you’d need to make more adjustments to ensure that they can maintain the desired appearance. 

A careful consideration of these pros and cons will help you to determine whether the saline breast implants are best for you. And, this should be done with a professional giving their advice.

Silicone vs Saline Implants: Making Your Decision

implant options

Now, we understand the fundamentals of the silicone implants vs saline variant. Next, let’s consider what you need to make a decision between both options:

Natural Feel and Aesthetics

With silicone implants, you get a more natural and realistic feel as they easily mimic the feeling and appearance of natural body tissue. On the flip side, saline implants come with a firmer feel that might not be so realistic. 

As such, if originality and a realistic feel is your biggest factor in the breast implant saline vs silicone debate, silicone implants come out on top here. 

Rippling and Wrinkling

Another point here is with wrinkling and rippling. Silicone implants aren’t so visible when they ripple, and this means that they might be a more ideal voice for people with minimal natural breast tissue. On the flip side, saline implants come with higher propensity for rippling and wrinkling. 

So, if you’re worried about these – or you’re a woman with little natural breast tissue, you might want to pick a silicone implant. 

Rupture Detection

With saline implants, you can easily detect ruptures since the implants deflate and the process is noticeable. On the other hand, silicone implants undergo what experts call “silent ruptures,” where the implant shell breaks without showing any major symptoms. 

Considering that you need to know when a rupture happens, saline implants eke out a win in this portion of the breast implants saline vs silicone debate

Overall Cost

Generally, saline implants tend to be more affordable than their silicone counterparts. This is a huge deciding factor for most customers, so saline implants might be a more ideal choice.

Incision Size

Compared to silicone implants that tend to be pre-filed, saline implants can be inserted through much smaller incisions overall. This means that scars with these implants are less noticeable.

Aesthetics and Body Type

One of the major factors to be considered when choosing the type of implant is your body type. And, as you’d expect, it plays a role in the saline vs silicone implants 2022 debate.

If you have an abundance of natural breast tissue, you would most likely have an easier time getting a natural look regardless of the choice you make. 

Implant Shape and Profile

In general, both options offer different profiles and shapes. So, you can easily get a surgeon’s recommendation for which option to choose based on your aesthetic objectives.

Maintenance and Longevity

breast implants
A silicone gel implant (left) and a saline gel implant. The FDA agreed to let implants return to the market in 2006, but stipulated that manufacturers track long-term side effects.

Both implant types should not be seen as lifetime devices. At the end of the day, you will need to either replace or remove them at some point. However, saline implants might need more adjustments over time in order to keep up the volume and size. 

Regulations and Safety Concerns

There have been several safety concerns of silicone implants in the past. However, fortunately, several new innovations in the development of these implants have rendered them even safer. 

On the flip side, saline implants have been around for much longer. As a result, they are usually recommended for people who have safety concerns across the board.

Personal Preference and Comfort

You need to consider your personal comfort level and feel with the implants when making a decision. We understand that some people might prefer a more natural fee, while others might not care so much about it. 

At the end of the day, your preference should dictate the option you choose.,

Surgeon’s Recommendation

Regardless of your preference, we recommend that you consult with a surgeon. They will be able to examine your body, understand your objective, and provide professional counsel based on their experience. 

Potential for Future Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

If you plan to still have kids in the future, this is one factor you want to raise with your surgeon. To begin with, you should know that breast implants don’t necessarily prevent breastfeeding. However, there are possible considerations to keep in mind.

At the end of the day, there’s not necessarily a uniform answer. So, what works for one person might not work for the next. The point is to get enough advice from a professional before going forward.

Conclusion

Choosing an option when selecting implants can be daunting. Silicone and saline come with their pros and cons, and you need to understand how to walk this fine line. 

At the end of the day, your consultation with a professional will help you make the right decision. Just as well, feel free to reach out to us at Legenday to learn more about both materials. 

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