September 12, 2023

Saline Vs. Silicone Breast Implants: What’s The Difference?

Saline and silicone breast implants are your two alternatives to consider if you’re thinking about breast augmentation or reconstruction. These two possibilities differ in several ways, with their composition being their main difference. One comprises cohesive silicone gel, while the other is made of salt sterile water. Other aspects, like the look, feel, and possible risks, are also impacted by this variation. We will go through the key distinctions, dangers, and risk factors in this blog article. The decision is personal and should be made with the assistance of a medical practitioner because it may be influenced by other elements including body type or other medical conditions. 

Image illustrating a patient during a breast augmentation consultation

What Are The Differences Between Saline And Silicone Breast Implants?

Choosing between saline and silicone breast implants is an important decision for people who are considering it. Even though your doctor will discuss every important information, you should also be aware of some of the main differences. In this blog, we will talk about the differences in the material, age guidelines, risks, looks, and incision size. Let’s go further into detail about these two options. 

Fill Material

  • Saline implants: Saline implants have a silicone outer shell and a sterile saltwater solution within. After the implant has been inserted into the breast, the solution is injected into the implant.
  • Silicone implants: Silicone implants are composed of silicone gel, which is a thick and gel-like substance. This is done to simulate the look and feel of real breasts while making them appear more natural.

Rupture Risks

  • Saline implants: If a saline implant ruptures the solution will leak through the body it will be absorbed with time. The rupture will be obvious.
  • Silicone implants: Different from saline implant rupture, the silicone implant will not be very apparent. To understand if anything is going on, doctors recommend MRIs or ultrasounds to monitor any possible changes.

Incision Size

  • Saline implants: Compared to silicone implants, saline implants can be placed through a smaller incision. This is due to the fact that the saline solution is injected into the implant shell after being placed in the body.
  • Silicone implants: Silicone implants require a bigger incision that usually goes along the areolar border.

Age Guidelines

  • Saline implants: Saline implants are recommended for individuals aged 18 and older.
  • Silicone implants: Silicone implants are recommended for individuals aged 22 or older. 

Look & Feel

  • Saline implants: Implants made of saline are often stronger than those made of silicone. This is because silicone gel is softer than saline solution. Saline implants are more prone to rupture and cause other complications that might jeopardize your results’ natural appearance.
  • Silicone implants: Saline implants lack the natural feel and appearance of silicone implants. The silicone gel can move and contour the body in a more natural way since it is flexible and soft, that’s why it is preferred more.
Image illustrating a doctor discussing breast lift implant options

What Are The Risks Of Breast Implants?

The risks of saline and silicone implants are similar to each other. Some of them can be:

  • Breast pain and uncomfortably.
  • Possibility of infection.
  • Temporary changes in the nipple that might affect breastfeeding.
  • Capsular contracture which happens when the breast implant’s form is altered by scar tissue.
  • Tearing or leaking from the scar.

If any of these issues happen, the doctor may need to remove or replace the implants with new ones, which means more surgery. Another rare risk of breast implants can be Breast implant-related anaplastic large-cell lymphoma which is a rare form of cancer that is connected with some breast implants. It’s crucial to visit your doctor if you notice any signs of breast implant swelling, armpit or breast lumps, or changes in the appearance of the skin around your breast.

Which One Is Considered The Safest Option?

If you choose the right clinic and a qualified surgeon for your procedure, the risks will be minimized. Breast augmentation is considered a safe procedure and has a high success rate. Comparing the two types of implants, saline ones are considered the safest option. The reason behind this is that if the implant ruptures the salt water will be absorbed by the body. Another advantage is that you will notice if something like this is happening and you may take protective measures before the problem gets worse. Research has also shown a connection between silicone implants and inflammatory conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but nothing has been proven yet. Before the procedure, you will go through several tests to see if you have any health condition that may interfere with this procedure. 

Image illustrating the risk of breast implant ruptures

What Happens If An Implant Ruptures?

Usually, a ruptured implant won’t cause serious health problems. However, it may result in discomfort, capsular contracture, and modifications to breast appearance. Monitoring any changes or discomfort is essential. If you think there may be a rupture, speak with your plastic surgeon. If this occurs, the method may change depending on whether the implant is silicone or saline.

Ruptured saline implant

As we said before when a saline implant ruptures, you will notice it. The implant will flatten and it will change in size and shape. The leak of the solution won’t cause any risk, but the silicon particles that compose the implant will need to be removed with surgery. After this, a new implant will be inserted to recover the appearance. 

Ruptured silicone implant

The silicone implant has a tendency to remain in the scar tissue that is formed around the implant and it is difficult to be noticed. The leaking of this material won’t harm the body but it can travel to other areas of it. If this happens the doctors will not remove it due to the risk of damaging other body tissues. 

The rupture of a silicon implant can cause pain in the breast, thickening of the area, and changes in the shape. Usually, the doctors will notice it by an MRI or a scan. The ruptured implant will need to be removed and another one is usually put in at the same time. 

Image illustrating a breast augmentation consultation

What Should I Consider Before Getting Breast Implants?

There are several things you should keep in mind if you are considering breast augmentation or reconstruction. Some things you should keep in mind are:

  • The breast will still sag even if you have breast implants. If you want to correct this issue, you may want to consider a breast lift also. 
  • In some cases, breast implants can interfere with breastfeeding, while in other cases they will not. 
  • Mammograms could be harder to perform. Routine mammograms for those who have breast implants may require specialized views. You need to inform the medical professional doing your mammography if you have breast implants.
  • An MRI scan can be needed for people with silicone implants to see if there are any problems with the implants or not.  
  • It is not clear how long breast implants last. Implants frequently need to be changed for a variety of reasons, such as implant rupture and scar tissue that develops after surgery. In addition, breasts keep developing even after surgery. The appearance of the breasts may alter as a result of several circumstances, including aging and changes in weight. Any of these problems can necessitate further surgery.
  • Following breast implant removal, you might need further surgery. You could require a breast lift or other type of surgery to improve the appearance of your breasts if implants need to be removed.

In Conclusion

In the end, what you choose is a matter of personal preference. Saline vs. silicone implants should be chosen based on your own circumstances and aspirations because every patient is different.

It’s a good idea to look at the pictures the clinics provide in addition to these advantages and disadvantages. To compare patients with silicone implants to those with saline implants, look for before and after pictures of both groups of patients. Pay particular attention to the patients who initially had breasts that were comparable to your own in size and body shape in order to have an idea of what to expect. 

Maintaining a close relationship and having open communication with your doctor is crucial. He will advise you on the appropriate kind of material for your situation. The finest outcome is achievable with the least amount of scarring and the shortest amount of recovery time if you select a skilled and experienced specialist for this procedure. 

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Meet Jessica, the compassionate website publisher with a passion for medical tourism, medical procedures, plastic surgery, and uncovering the wonders of Albania. Through her informative and eloquent writing, she guides and empowers readers to make informed decisions about healthcare and explore the beauty of this enchanting country. Let Jessica be your trusted source for all things related to health, travel, and self-discovery.

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