Saline or Silicone?
You will hear a lot of talk and many, many different opinions about the question of “should I choose silicone or saline”? First of all, remember this. Globally, hundreds of thousands of individuals receiving silicone implants each year are thrilled. Few are disappointed. And globally, hundreds of thousands of individuals receiving saline implants are thrilled. Few are disappointed. When you look at those numbers, you realize that you really can’t go wrong with your decision.
So which implant type do most women choose? If you search the Internet, you may get a feel that silicone is chosen more often. Perhaps this is because implant manufacturers spread the word that silicone is better since they charge more and make more from silicone implants.
Interestingly enough, recent national and global studies point otherwise. For instance, according to a U.S. and Global study last year, slightly over 85% of women in the U.S. chose saline. Dr. Lipton performs procedures with both implant types day in and day out, and 99% of his patients are thrilled, either way. So will you.
So what are the differences?
Feel: Silicone is composed of a viscous gel. A saline implant is composed of saline water in a silicone cover. When you touch a silicone implant with your hands BEFORE it is implanted (and before it is under your skin, breast tissue and muscle), it seems to feel better than saline.
However, AFTER an implant is implanted under your skin, under your tissue and under your muscle, it is almost always nearly impossible to tell the difference. This is because you are touching the implant beneath your skin, breast tissue and muscle.
The possible exception is if you intentionally reach beneath your breast. Beneath your breast, if you touch it with the intention of trying to feel the implant itself, then you might feel a ripple to the touch underneath. If you have very little breast tissue, then you will have a greater chance of feeling a difference underneath.
If the implant is placed ABOVE the muscle and you don’t have very much breast tissue, then saline implant might not feel as natural as silicone.
Look: Under the muscle, the differences are virtually imperceptible. Over the muscle, silicone appears more natural.
Risk Differences: With the newer advanced silicone implants, the risk profile appears to be virtually the same as with saline. Both are typically very safe.
Incision: Incisions are usually hidden so well that they are imperceptible with either implant. Additionally, saline implants are filled after they are inserted in the breast pocket, so smaller incisions may be made with saline.
Durability: The old adage was that implants would last 10 – 20 years. However, with today’s advanced implants, it is likely that both silicone and saline implants should last you a lifetime. This is why the manufacturers now offer lifetime warranties on both.
In the uncommon event of a rupture or deflation, you will usually notice a saline implant deflation immediately. When a saline implant deflates, the natural silicone water dissipates and is expelled by your body.
A silicone rupture may take you longer to notice because the silicone may dissipate from the implant slowly. If for some reason you don’t notice this for an extended period of time, then it may take your surgeon more time to excise the material from the area around your breasts.
Other than that, with silicone rupture or saline deflation, you will simply schedule an implant replacement procedure. The manufacturer of the implant typically supplies your replacement implant at no cost to you per your warranty (with some limitations): Allergan Breast Implant Warranties.
Cost: This may be the biggest difference between saline and silicone. Silicone implants are more than twice as expensive as saline.
Remember, your friends, Internet sages, doctors, etc, etc will all have varying opinions. In the end, make a decision you want deep in your heart. Millions of satisfied individuals on both sides of the debate are happy with silicone and happy with saline. Just make your own decision, be darned with the others, and love it!
What about Gummy Implants?
A gummy implant is a very firm version of a silicone implant. It is heavier than other implants. It is primarily intended for rebuilding or reconstruction after cancer surgery. Many patients prefer a softer, more natural feel than a gummy implant. Some patients like the fact that the rigidness of the gummy implant provides the same contour regardless of whether you are standing, leaning over or lying down. Gummy implants (being fairly rigid) will bounce and move differently than softer implants. Some people prefer the bounce of a gummy, and some people prefer the bounce of a natural breast (one without implant) or softer breast.