Breast implants come in two materials: saline and silicone. There are both advantages and disadvantages of each, and no type of implant is right for all women undergoing breast augmentation.
Construction of an Implant
Silicone breast implants consist of a silicone outer shell filled with silicone gel. This gel varies in consistency; some is closer to a liquid or jelly, while others are similar to gummy bear candy. Saline-filled implants are a silicone outer shell filled with a saline (salt water) solution. Regardless of whether you decide upon silicone or saline breast implants, the procedure to insert them into the chest is much the same.
Implants made of silicone are usually thought of as more realistic-feeling. While silicone implants are about the same density as natural breast tissue, saline implants tend to be firmer. Some women find that this leads to results that are less realistic. However, with new advances in saline implant design, this is less of a distinction now than in past years.
Some women are concerned about the thought of placing silicone in their body. If a saline implant ruptures, the salt water it contains can be absorbed safely by the body. On the other hand, silicone implants require periodic MRIs to check for signs of leaks or ruptures, which can pose a health risk. Many surgeons consider saline to be slightly safer than silicone implants, while others note that silicone implants have been cleared by the FDA.
Consult With Your Surgeon
These factors should be discussed with your doctor before you decide between saline and silicone breast implants. Your surgeon can help you determine which type of implant is right for you.