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Silicone vs Saline Breast Implants: Which Is Better For Me?

Breast implants: choosing between silicone and saline

When considering breast augmentation, it’s important to note that both saline and silicone implants have shells made of silicone. The real difference between these two breast implant types is that one is filled with saline (salt water) and the other is filled with silicone (gel). Your decision between these two types depends on your personal preferences and the look you’d like to achieve. Silicone filled implants were introduced in the United States in 1961. Saline filled implants were introduced in France in 1964. Both types of implants have undergone multiple changes in their construction to improve their clinical outcome.

At The Geldner Center Plastic Surgery & Med Spa in Chicago and Oak Brook, our commitment is to help you achieve your desired aesthetic goals by providing personalized care. Choosing between saline and silicone breast implants is a crucial step, and we want to make sure you’re prepared to make an informed decision.

To book your consultation today please call (312) 981-4440.

Understanding Silicone Breast Implants

Look: Filled with silicone gel, these implants provide a more natural appearance with minimal wrinkling or rippling, making them an excellent choice for women with little breast tissue or those undergoing post-mastectomy reconstruction. Saline implants have a very similar look to gel implants but can show more surface irregularities.

Feel: Silicone implants are popular because they closely mimic natural breast tissue, offering a softer, more natural feel compared to saline. Silicone gel implants come in various types of firmness from very pliable to firm. The choice is often determined by the volume of the implant relative to the breast.

Incision: Larger incisions are needed for silicone implants rather than saline implants, especially with large size implants. There are a few incision types used to put silicone breasts in place. These can include inframammary, axillary, and periareolar. One of the most popular incision types used at The Geldner Center for silicone breast implants is the Periareolar incision, which is made around the areola. If you take a look at this breast augmentation case, you can see the patient asked for discrete scarring. While the incision is larger than the incision needed for saline breast implants, this doesn’t mean that the scar cannot be hidden well. 

Rupture: While rare, if a rupture occurs in silicone implants, it is often a silent rupture. Since there are no direct signs or symptoms of a rupture, the FDA made a rule around 2006 that they want routine MRIs or high-resolution ultrasounds of the breast to determine the state of the implant. Getting routine MRIs is not convenient and can cost you time and money but the MRI can diagnose a broken implant and can buy peace of mind. 

At The Geldner Center, we saw a need for a more simple solution, which is why we decided to implement the Butterfly IQ Plus Ultrasound. The high resolution ultrasonography can be used to monitor the implant, scanning the area to determine if there have been any changes. The study is certainly easy and reliable, and answers many of the same questions as the MRI.

To learn more about Butterfly IQ Plus Ultrasound, watch this YouTube video. 

Understanding Saline Breast Implants

Feel: Saline implants are sometimes firmer than silicone and lack the feel of natural breast tissue.

Look: The appearance of saline implants can vary. There’s a higher chance of rippling or wrinkling, especially if there’s minimal breast tissue or if the implant is above the muscle. For this reason, silicone implants are often recommended for women who lack breast tissue.

Incision: Smaller incisions are needed for saline implants since they are filled after insertion. For women who are wanting larger breast implants, saline may be a better option due to the reduced incision size and a smaller scar. A popular placement for the incision is in the armpit, and this is called a Transaxillary incision. Take a look at this breast augmentation case.

Rupture: The most common complication with saline breast implants is a rupture. Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water so if a rupture occurs, the salt water will be harmlessly absorbed by the body. While not urgent, it should be addressed as soon as possible.

Schedule a Consultation

Factors such as personal preferences, lifestyle, and aesthetic goals should guide your decision-making process. It is strongly recommended for potential patients to consult with Dr. Geldner, a trusted expert of plastic surgery in the Chicago area, to discuss your options and address any concerns.

To book your consultation with Dr. Geldner today, please call (312) 981-4440.

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