There are two principal advantages to saline breast implants. The first advantage is that saline implants are comprised of a sterile saltwater solution that your body can naturally absorb in case your implants leak or rupture. The second advantage is that Portland plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Bohley can insert saline breast implants before filling them with the saltwater solution. This allows him to use smaller incisions during breast augmentation surgery. It also allows the plastic surgeon to customize the size of breast implants to better fit each breast augmentation patient. On the other hand, many cosmetic surgeons and patients acknowledge that silicone breast implants more closely resemble the look and feel of natural breasts than saline implants do.
With this mind, here are the benefits and drawbacks of silicone breast implants, so you can make an informed decision about which type of implants is right for you.
Benefits of Silicone Breast Implants
In addition to looking and feeling more like natural breasts, another benefit of silicone breast implants is that they are less likely to wrinkle or cause visible rippling on the surface of the skin. Also, silicone weighs less than saline, so silicone gel implants are not as easily affected by the pull of gravity, allowing them to stay higher on the chest over time.
Drawbacks to Silicone Implants
Realistically, there are also some drawbacks to silicone breast implants. First, those with silicone breast implants may have an increased risk of silent rupture. Silent rupture occurs when silicone implants leak or rupture, but the patient is not aware of it because the silicone gel material has stayed intact. Also, the body cannot naturally absorb silicone gel the way that it can absorb saline solution. Thus, with silent rupture, the silicone gel stays inside the breast implant pocket, making the rupture undetectable by the naked eye. To monitor the condition of silicone breast implants, Dr. Bohley recommends patients undergo a breast imaging exam (i.e., an MRI or mammogram) every three years, beginning the third year after the initial breast augmentation surgery.
Another drawback to silicone implants is that they are already filled when Dr. Bohley inserts them, so he must use larger incisions than he does with saline implants. However, Dr. Bohley strategically places incisions, so they are hidden in concealed parts of the body, such as the fold of the breast or under the arm.
Finally, silicone breast implants are slightly more expensive than saline breast implants. That said, many breast augmentation patients agree that the extra cost is a fair trade for the aesthetic advantages that silicone implants offer.