By Michael Lee, MD
One of the most important decisions in preparing for a breast augmentation is choosing the right type of implants. Silicone and saline breast implants are the most popular options for breast enhancement, and understanding your goals and expectations for this procedure will help you choose the right implant type for your body. There are some impressive advantages if you choose saline-filled implants over silicone implants.
In many cases, the breasts are a very large part of a woman’s physical identity. Women with full, uplifted, and attractive breasts often have more confidence than women with small, sagging, or deflated breasts. Breast augmentation can improve the size, shape, and positioning of the breasts for a more attractive look.
While both silicone and saline breast implants can provide a range of benefits to this end, in many cases, saline implants are considered the more natural of these two options. Mainly because these gel inserts are filled with a natural saline solution that can be absorbed safely by the body if an implant should ever rupture or leak. Saline implants also require smaller incisions, and the incision options are less limited than silicone implants.
Like silicone, saline implants are available in different sizes. Saline breast implants can create the desired level of volume and shape you want to achieve for a proportional physique. This flexibility is extremely valuable for patients who are looking to correct problems with asymmetrical or uneven breasts.
The implants are inserted into the body as empty shells. Once the implants are in place, the surgeon can then add the appropriate level of volume by gradually adding the saline solution. Even after you decide on the size of your implants, you will be able to make adjustments after the insertion.
Early Detection of Implant Leaks
Another advantage of saline implants over silicone is their overall safety. Over time, silicone leakage has been known to to cause health issues in some patients, but with saline implants, this is not a concern. Saline is a solution of salt and water, so in the case of a leak, the solution will not harm the body.
Detecting leaks in saline breast implants is considerably easier and often immediate, the body can take in and absorb the solution. Being able to identify and address problems like these in a timely fashion will ultimately limit the impact that they have. Patients that have concerns about the potential long-term effects of breast enhancement surgery should have greater peace of mind and security after opting for saline breast implants.
There is only one major disadvantage of saline implants—they do not look or feel as natural as silicone implants. Ripples in their lining can be seen more easily than silicone, and they also have a firmer feel than silicone implants. There is also a small chance of capsular contracture, although the rates are lower than in patients who choose elect to have silicone implants.
Michael Lee, MD, is a double board certified plastic surgeon and ENT who practices at Park Cities Cosmetic Surgery in Dallas.