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Blepharoplasty Lady

Saline versus Silicone Breast Implants

December 5, 2017

When considering or planning a Breast Augmentation, there is a lot to consider. Choosing the type of implant is an important decision. Do you go with Silicone or Saline? There are pros and cons to each. There are also a variety of options are available for both:

  • A vast range of base widths (diameters) to suit every woman’s body size and shape
  • Different implant projection options, from low to high profile
  • An extensive range of sizes, offering women the look they want
  • Two shape options: Round implants and Shaped implants (Anatomic or Tear drop)
  • Two shell surface options: smooth or textured implants.

Silicone Implants
Cohesive Gel breast implants are the current generation of silicone breast implants. Each implant is filled with a thick, cohesive formulation of silicone that resembles a pliable solid. As a result of the increased density, Cohesive Gel implants have a firmer feel than older liquid silicone implants. They are less prone to rippling/wrinkling. In the event of a rupture (unlikely), the silicone won’t leak. Form-Stable breast implants, also known as Gummy Bear implants, are the newest option and have been developed to address patient concerns regarding the leaking of silicone gel. The form-stable consistency of the silicone used resembles a gummy bear – hence the name. When these implants are cut in half, the silicone gel in each half holds together uniformly, retaining its shape. This is what is used in Shaped (Anatomic or Teardrop) implants. These shaped implants are designed to replicate the look and feel of a natural breast with a soft touch and a teardrop appearance. Once implanted, the breast conforms to the shape of the implants and the shape and position is maintained with minimal rippling/wrinkling. Other types of implants are subject to the force of gravity and adapt to the individual shape of each woman. A drawback for some is the form-stability Gummy Bear implants feel firmer. It should be noted, they still closely resemble that of natural breast tissue. Benefits of Cohesive (Silicone) Gel Breast Implants:

  • All Cohesive Gel implants are FDA and Health Canada approved.
  • Each implant is filled with a thick, cohesive silicone gel formula that holds together uniformly and retains a natural feeling, similar to real breast tissue
  • Cohesive Gel implants suffer from less rippling/wrinkling than saline implants and older liquid silicone implants
  • Ideal for women with very little natural breast tissue or fat
  • If a Cohesive Gel implant leaks or ruptures, the silicone gel will not be released.
  • Each implant has a set fill volume for predictable results.
  • To ensure best long-term results for all patients, all Cohesive Gel implants are covered (free of charge) by a manufacturer warranty and lifetime replacement policy

Some things to consider:

  • Bi-annual check: Patients with silicone implants are recommended by the FDA to have MRI scans every couple years to detect any silicone leak or noticeable symptoms.
  • Pre-filled: The implants are pre-filled prior to surgery, requiring larger incisions

Saline Implants 

Saline Implants are made of a silastic shell and filled with salt water. The implants have a lifespan of 10-15 years. Patients preferred saline implants because it was easier to tell if there was a leak or rupture compared to the old silicone implants where it would take months before the patient would know there was an issue. The saline is easily absorbable by the body without creating any harm, whereas silicone could be potentially toxic. Saline implants have been FDA and Health Canada approved for many years. Each implant is filled with a sterile salt-water solution similar to the fluid that makes up most of the human body – which makes it harmless and compatible with the human body. The breast size and shape will noticeably change immediately following a leak or rupture. Saline implants have a flexible fill volume that can be precisely adjusted during surgery to meet the needs of each patient. The implants are typically filled to their maximum to reduce rippling/wrinkling, which tends to create a slightly more rounded and projected appearance as compared to a silicone implant of the same size and profile. The insertion of any given saline implant during surgery requires a smaller incision than that required for a similar size of silicone implant. Any size of saline implant can be inserted through an incision in the armpit (Trans-Axillary). Saline implants are cheaper than a silicone implant, which means the total procedure cost for saline implant augmentation is cheaper for the patient. To ensure best long-term results for all patients, all saline breast implants are covered – free of charge -by a manufacturer warranty and lifetime replacement policy. Some things to consider:

  • Less natural feel: The saline implants have less of a natural feel, making the implants look rounder and feeling firmer.
  • Heavier: The implants are heavier than silicone implants. Patients often complain of their breast drooping.
  • Higher chances of rippling and wrinkling: The implants are not as durable and have a shorter lifespan compared to silicone implants.
Dr. Stephen Mulholland, MD
Posted by Dr. Stephen Mulholland, MD
has been practicing plastic surgery for over 20 years. He is one of Canada’s most renowned and best plastic surgeons in Toronto with his wealth of experience, artistry, and humbleness towards his patients.

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