Silicone or saline breast implants, which one should you get? This seems to be the very first decision you will have to make as soon as you decide you are going to get a breast implant. Interestingly, the outer shells of both silicone and saline breast implants are made of silicone. So, technically they both are made up of some measure of silicone. What then is the difference? Saline breast implants have a sterile saline feeling. This means that they are filled up with saltwater. Silicone breast implants, on the other hand, are filled up with the plastic gel, silicone.
The composition of the implant plays a major role in determining what the outcomes of your breast augmentation will be. That is why you must choose wisely and carefully. The type of implant you are getting will determine how natural your implant will look and feel. The size of your incision and scars also depends to an extent on the type of implant you are getting. Texture, longevity, and the risks of rupture are other things that largely depend on the type of implant you are getting. Other factors such as implant size and shape are also important to consider, but they only matter after you have first decided the type of implant that you are getting.
Silicone or saline breast implants? – Cosmetic Factors
Breast augmentation is rarely a medical necessity, if ever. If you are choosing to have your breast augmented, it is most likely for cosmetic reasons. So then, it is wise to start our comparison from cosmetic factors.
Between silicone and saline implants, which one feels more natural? Which one has a more natural look? How about the incision and scars? Which one requires only small incisions? Which one leaves you with smaller scars? We will evaluate all of these.
1. Which one feels more natural? – Silicone Implant
If you are getting a breast implant, you most likely care about how they would feel to the touch. And as you may have guessed, saline and silicone implants do not feel the same.
The way silicone implants are made is such that they would closely match the feel of your natural breast tissues. This means that silicone implants have a softer feel to the touch and are mushier when they are squeezed compared to saline implants.
Saline implants, on the other hand, are a lot firmer and have an unnatural feel. If you care about the feel, you should only get saline implants if your placement would be under the muscle or if you have a lot of natural breast tissues to cover it up.
2. Which one has a more natural look? – Silicone Implant
Some people care less about the natural look. But most people do, especially when thinking about intimate moments. The two types of breast implants also differ significantly in how natural they look.
Generally speaking, the appearance of saline implants is usually rounder and firmer compared to their silicone counterparts. This is mostly because silicone gel is much more pliable than sterile saline. This makes it look more like natural breast tissues.
If you get saline implants, your breast would still be well-augmented, but it won’t come out looking and feeling natural. Silicone implants will give you more natural outcomes.
3. Which one requires a small incision and leaves you with a smaller scar? – Saline Implant
This is where saline implants have an advantage over silicone implants. The technique for placing saline implants differs from that of silicone implants.
When you get saline implants, the shell is usually inserted empty. Your surgeon would fill-up the implant after placing it. This means that you will require only a small incision to get saline implants inserted.
Silicone implants, on the other hand, are usually filled before they are inserted. Therefore, they require a larger incision and as a result, leave you with bigger scars.
Other Important Variables to Consider
Cosmetic factors are not the only variables to consider in choosing between saline and silicone implants. There are still a few other variables you may have to consider before you make your decision. They are as follows:
- Cost – Saline implants generally cost less. The total amount of money you will spend on your breast augmentation will differ based on which type of implant you are going for. Generally speaking, saline implants cost about 500-1000USD lesser than silicone implants. So if you are looking to cut costs, you should go for saline implants.
- Durability – Both types of implants have almost equal longevity. Neither silicone nor saline implants are made to last forever. They are both mechanical devices, so they are likely to fail somewhere in their life span.
To say the truth, breast implants are very durable regardless of the type. However, you may have to replace your implants after some years. The good thing is that both types of implants can last almost equally as long before you need to replace them.
- Risk – Both types of implants share the same risks. The risks of breast augmentation are relatively low. It is one of the surgical procedures whose risks are very uncommon. However, the risks of saline implants are the same as that of silicone implants. They include infection, capsular contracture, implant rupture, and nipple sensation changes.
- Chances of Wrinkling – Silicone implants are less likely to wrinkle. When your breast implant starts wrinkling, it is possible that the folds of the wrinkles would be visible through your skin. Wrinkles usually occur along the sides of the breast or at the bottom.
All things being equal, there is a higher chance for wrinkles to develop in saline implants in contrast with silicone implants. This is mostly because saline solutions have a lower viscosity than silicone gel.
Breast Implant Rupture – Which Type Is Better?
Implant rupture is one of the risks of breast implants, although it is quite uncommon. It occurs when a weak point in the outer shell of your implant tears or develops a hole.
When this happens, the filling of the implant leaks out and causes deformities in how the breast appears. When a saline implant ruptures, you will know almost immediately because there is usually rapid deflation.
Saltwater is part of the natural composition of your body, so you have nothing to fear if a saline implant ruptures. Your body would simply absorb the saltwater without any harm. Saltwater (saline) is not in any way toxic, so saline implant rupture is not an emergency.
Silicone implants rupture, on the other hand, does not lead to rapid deflation. The silicone gel filling would instead ooze out slowly. More so, your body cannot absorb the silicone gel. It accumulates within the pocket of the breast.
The FDA recommendation is that you should go for MRI screening 3 years after your augmentation surgery to check for possible ruptures if you have silicone implants. After the first screening, you should also get screened every 2 years interval.
Silicone or saline breast implants, which is better? What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander, after all. Your choice should be guided by your personal goals and the variables you count most important.