When choosing breast implants, you will need to decide between silicone and saline. These are the two types of materials from which breast implants are made, and there are both benefits and potential downsides to each one. No one type of breast implant is the right choice for all women who are getting breast augmentation surgery.
What Breast Implants Look Like
First, it is helpful to understand the anatomy of a breast implant. A silicone breast implant has an outer shell of silicone, filled with a silicone gel. This gel may be firm, like a gummy bear, or closer to a liquid. Meanwhile, a saline-filled implant has a silicone outer shell which is filled with saline (or salt water). No matter which type of breast implant you choose, the surgery to insert them into the chest is much the same.
For many women, the first consideration when choosing between silicone and saline breast implants is how they will feel. Silicone implants are designed to have the same density as natural breast tissue. Meanwhile, saline implants tend to be a little more firm, which can make them feel more plastic and less lifelike. Still, new advances in breast augmentation techniques mean that today, it is possible to achieve realistic results with either silicone or saline implants.
Some women feel more comfortable placing saline in their body rather than silicone. In the past, there have been concerns about the safety of silicone implants, particularly in the event of a leak or rupture. While silicone implants have since been cleared by the FDA, it is still recommended that women who have silicone implants undergo regular MRI scans to detect signs of a rupture or leak, which may pose a health concern. Many surgeons view saline as the safer option compared to silicone implants.
Seek Surgeon's Input
Before choosing between silicone and saline breast implants, discuss the options with your surgeon. He or she will be able to review your goals and concerns, suggesting the implant that will be right for you.