Silicone breast implants have become increasingly popular as the implant of choice for breast augmentation surgery over the last several years. This follows the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) lifting its restrictions on their usage back in 2006. As of last year, data from plastic surgeons revealed that silicone breast implants were used in 72% of the breast augmentation procedures while saline implants were selected only 28% of the time – an almost 3:1 ratio.
In my Scottsdale and Phoenix plastic surgery practice, the numbers are even more dramatic. Nearly 99% (not an exaggeration) of my patients undergoing a breast enlargement or a mastopexy with implants choose silicone implants over the saline implants. The 1% who do elect to go with the saline ones are not selecting them because they think that they feel more natural. They don’t. Instead, the most common reason is an immediate cost issue – the saline implants are less expensive than the silicone ones.
There are many reasons for the accelerating popularity of silicone breast implants for breast augmentation surgery. Probably the most important reason is the naturalness of their feel – like a youthful breast. Saline implants can’t come close to matching this at all. In fact, after holding and feeling the saline implants, most of my patients (and their significant others, when present) state that they feel like water balloons. This is clearly not a ringing endorsement of them.
In over twenty five years of practice, I have never had one patient or a significant other tell me that they preferred the saline implants over the silicone breast implants because they feel more natural. That is an amazing though not surprising 100% consensus.
Of course, there are several other reasons that make the silicone breast implants far superior to the saline ones not only for a breast augmentation or a breast lift with implants but also for breast reconstruction. With the politicization of their usage now in the somewhat distant past and the clarification of their safety following the most comprehensive evaluations of any medical product or device ever, I would expect that silicone implants will become the easy choice for an increasing percentage of women.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona