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Silicone vs. Saline Breast Implants

Most people are aware of the previous restrictions on the use of silicone breast implants.  Many plastic surgeons and women are very happy that many of these restrictions have been lifted after improvements and new guidelines.  There are many good things about silicone breast implants and hard work is being done to re-educate the public about the pros and cons about different types of breast implants.  For our clients in Costa Mesa we want what’s best for them and knowing what each type of breast implant can do helps in deciding which one would be the best fit.

First off it should be clarified that silicone implants weren’t really banned from use.  Plastic surgeons have been able to use silicone implants for cancer patients, those with congenital defects, and patients needing a breast lift for the last several years.  They were just not available for cosmetic surgery patients.

Now that silicone breast implants are available for cosmetic breast augmentations, a lot of clients want to know how silicone implants compare to saline implants. There are pros and cons to both and a lot has to do with how they look and feel.

Like most plastic surgeons, I have our Costa Mesa clients actually try on the different sizes of breast implants in front of a mirror. In the exam room we keep both saline and silicone implants. The client then gets the chance to handle the implant and feel its consistency.  Almost everyone who touches the silicone breast implant always comments on how they like the feel of it.  Most plastic surgeon can attest that according the reactions they get from clients, the best feature of the silicone implant is how it feels outside the body.

However, we always remind our clients that although the saline implant kind of feels like a baggie of water, once inside the body it doesn’t feel as weird because it is surrounded by various amounts of skin, fat and muscle. So the comparison between the implants you hold in your hand is not completely fair. Still many prefer the feel of silicone after breast augmentation.

The final appearance of the breast implants varies little except for one aspect: the rippling that can occur at the border of breast implants. Rippling occurs when edges of the implant shell are visible and palpable through the skin.  Another advantage of silicone implants is that they have much less tendency to show rippling, especially in slender patients.

There are two main causes of rippling with breast implants. One is the consistency of the tissue surrounding the implant. If there is a good cover with plenty of muscle or subcutaneous fat, rippling, even if it occurs, is not likely to show through the skin. The other main factor is the filling of the breast implant. Because the saline water has very little consistency, the implant shell can fold easily against the saline, but silicone is thicker, and so the shell doesn’t fold as easily. Silicone implants, therefore may be the best choice for particularly slender patients.

If you’re considering breast implants and live in the Costa Mesa area, contact our office today. We would be happy to set up a consultation to help find the best breast implant for you.