It should come as no surprise that when people talk about breast augmentation surgery, the number one topic of conversation has to do with size.
Even bigger than that.
In fact, I suspect that the second and third areas of focus may also be related to size!
The next most important factor to consider for your breast augmentation after size is the type of breast implant that you would like to have.
Should you select silicone breast implants or should you go with saline?
This choice is usually discussed during your consultation with your plastic surgeon. Some plastic surgeons will remain relatively neutral regarding your decision on implant type whereas others may strongly voice their preference. When they do, it is most often for the silicone implants.
This preference translates into the usage of silicone breast implants for the vast majority of breast augmentations that are being performed in the United States now.
From over 33 years of practice, performing breast augmentation surgery and evaluating patients who have had this procedure, I can unequivocally state that silicone breast implants provide results that are generally far superior to those obtained with saline implants.
Patients do have the same sentiment.
Over the years, I have treated many patients who, at one time or another, had both saline and silicone implants. To the patient, every one of them preferred the silicone ones over saline, stating that they felt and looked more natural with the silicone ones.
Let’s look at 9 reasons why silicone breast implants are superior to the saline ones when it comes to breast augmentation results.
Silicone Implants Feel More Natural
Silicone implants are filled with a cohesive silicone gel that truly simulates the “feel” of breast tissue. On the other hand, saline implants are filled with salt water. Squeeze a water balloon and you’ll get the idea of what saline implants have to offer.
It is not entirely thrilling.
The qualitative difference between the two is even greater when the person is thinner and with little breast tissue.
Silicone Implants Provide a More Natural Appearance
With regard to appearance, silicone implants can provide superior results – statically and dynamically – as compared to the saline ones. This difference is even greater the less breast tissue there is and the thinner the person is. Conversely, it can be difficult or impossible to distinguish between the two implant types when there is a lot of breast tissue to begin with.
It can be stated with complete certainty that there is no situation that I am aware of or have seen where a saline implant provided a better appearance as compared to silicone.
Silicone Implants Rarely are Associated with Rippling
Particularly in thin skinned individuals and with implants placed above the muscle, saline implants have a high risk of associated rippling (contour waviness of the skin) and even fluid waves with motion and bending over – which can be quite obvious. This is neither natural nor attractive and can be quite embarrassing and distressing for those women who have this issue.
When the appropriate level cohesive silicone implant is selected in these same situations, it is rare to have any rippling whatsoever. If there are contour issues they are very minimal in comparison to what would be experienced by the saline ones in the same situation.
Silicone Implants Maintain Breast Shape Better
The present silicone implants are form stable to selectable degrees due to varying degrees of the cohesiveness of the silicone gel. This means that the implants maintain their shape even in various positions and orientations. The ultra-cohesive gel (which was used in the true “gummy bear” implants) version of the implants provide the highest level of implant shape stability which translates into better control of the breast shape.
Compare this to the saline implant which is more like a high tech water balloon not filled up all the way. There is far less support and resistance to pressure and it changes shape with change in position.
You get the general picture.
Silicone Implants Provide Superior Projection
Because of the high level of cohesiveness of the gel in the silicone implants and the associated form stability, they provide resistance to overlying compressive forces with little if any loss in their projection. Consequently, they can provide controllable and selectable breast projection.
Compare this to the water balloon like saline implants which easily compress, lose projection and provide far inferior support for the breast tissues.
Silicone Implants are More Durable
Silicone implants are definitely more durable than saline implants. On average, they last longer than the saline ones and can better endure more trying conditions such as mammograms, car accidents and other trauma.
Silicone Implants Can Provide Better Long Term Results
Because silicone implants maintain their shape better, the long term breast augmentation results can be superior. This is especially true with larger breast implants. Large saline implants over time are often associated with a bottoming out of the breast – where the bottom portion of the breast stretches out and the implant effective “migrates” down the chest resulting in less volume higher up and more at the bottom. This can create a less than ideal look and definitely not a naturally appearing breast.
Silicone Implants Provide More Options for Tailoring the Results
Depending on the implant manufacturer, there are different profile styles and degrees of cohesiveness when considering silicone implants. An implant profile is essentially the width to height ratio for a given volume. This allows for far more choices and refined results depending on one’s chest wall and breast anatomy and is very important.
Allergan’s Natrelle Inspira™ silicone implants are available in 5 projection profiles: Low, Low-Plus, Moderate, Full and Extra-Full.
Their saline implants are available in just 3 projection profiles: Low, Moderate and High.
With regard to the silicone gel, there are 3 levels of cohesiveness that can be selected based on a variety of patient factors which allows for superior, fine-tuned results.
In contrast, the saline implants are filled with saline. That’s the “choice”.
There are no Aesthetic Emergencies Associated with Silicone Implants
Breast implants are not necessarily permanent, lifetime devices. Given enough time, all saline and silicone implants will wear down and lose their integrity. Because of the contained cohesive silicone gel, when silicone implants lose their integrity, there is typically no discernible change either in shape or size of the breast. Usually this disruption is only picked up on a mammogram or an MRI.
On the other hand, when saline implants loses their integrity, they usually lose their volume – immediately, noticeably and almost entirely.
Like a deflated balloon!
When the implants are relatively sizable, this deflation can result in a profound change in appearance and difference in sizes of the two breasts.
For many, this is an aesthetic emergency and it can be quite embarrassing.
Furthermore, it often seems to occur at quite inopportune times.
Silicone Implants ARE the Gold Standard for Implants
Based on facts and evidence, silicone breast implants are the gold standard when it comes to breast implants. As you can see, they are superior in so many ways to their saline filled alternatives.
Regardless, you still do have a choice when it comes to selecting the breast implant that is right for you.
If you are interesting in pursuing breast augmentation surgery, you can contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation by either calling us at (480) 451-3000 or contacting us by email.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona