Selection of Breast Implants: Silicone Vs Saline Implants

By Claire Mier

saline vs silicone implants picturesThere are a very large number of breast implants and manufacturers in the world. Breast implants vary in terms of content, surface, size, shape (click here to learn more about the different shapes etc.…) and quality. It is therefore important that the patient understand their different characteristics and the importance of quality.

Let’s begin with two major types of breast implants, silicone and saline implants. Both types of implants have a sheath of silicone as their shells, but differ in the fillings; either saline, cohesive (as solid) silicone (called gummy bear implants), or viscous silicone gel.

Silicone Implants Are Definitely the Most Common

Virtually all silicone implants are the cohesive type consisting of the solid gel form, called gummy bear implants. There is therefore no doubt about the type of breast implant surgeons in northern Europe and their European colleagues as well as surgeons from Asia generally prefer to use – silicone implants of cohesive type of form solid gel.

Saline implants are significantly more common in the U.S.

In the U.S., however, it is different. The saline and silicone implants are equally popular. The explanation for this is the fact that the U.S. FDA had banned the sale of silicone implants until November 17, 2006. That is probably why many American surgeons continue to work with the type of implants they feel more familiar with, which is why saline implants are more widely used in America.

The reason for the ban of silicone implants in the U.S. was that there had been a study that found a possible links between breast cancer and silicone-filled breast implants. When it became clear that there were no such links the ban was lifted.

difference between saline and silicone
However, it is still the case that only silicone implants filled with cohesive silicone gel may be sold in the U.S. and the only authorized suppliers are Mentor and Allergan.

Breast Implants with Liquid Silicone Gel Is on the Way Out

Since the invention of the cohesive silicone implants, they have almost completely replaced the use of breast implants with the liquid silicone gel. That reason for that is that most surgeons believe that they are outdated and there is no reason to use them anymore.

The Cohesive Breast Implants (Gummy Bear Implants)

silicone vs saline breast implants

The main advantage of cohesive gel implants is that you can make round or anatomical shape. Cohesive gel implants for breast augmentation is one of the most significant advances in implant technology. These, used cohesive silicone gel, not liquid silicone.

You can take a pair of scissors and cut a cake as part of the implant. The implant can be pressed and the filler is not going to leave the implant, or lose shape. If there is a rupture of the implant, there is less risk that the material is spread by the body than with other materials. The cohesive silicone gel in this implant is designed to retain its shape and does not move within the implant.

It has been said that the more cohesiveness of the silicone implants, the more natural look and feel the breasts will have as the content has a texture very similar to natural breast tissue. Many experts will state that cohesive gel implants does not work as well for women with little self-breast tissue like the implants would on women with sufficient own breast tissue. The natural breast tissues can cover the implant better and normally can help them achieve more natural results.

Conclusion – the Differences between Breast Implants

Saline

  • Does not contain silicone gel
  • They tend to lose 20 to 30% of the volume in 5-7 years
  • They have a lower profile (projection) and a larger diameter when compared to silicone implants of the same volume
  • Their mobility is limited by binding to tissues with textured surfaces
  • This rough surface allows a fixed tissue formation around the implants making them ideal for placement under the mammary gland
  • The texture of this type of breast implants is firmer compared to silicone gel, especially if placed under the pectoral muscle
  • If the implant is ruptured, the liquid within is totally reabsorbed by the body without complications due to the components of normal sodium chloride

Silicone Gel

  • Containing cohesive silicone gel inside the implant and an envelope with double or triple layer of silicone
  • Does not lose volume over time
  • Achieve a higher profile that achieves the highest projection and a smaller diameter which gives an appearance similar to that of young-looking breasts
  • Feels 100% natural
  • They can have a smooth or rough surface textures depending on the experience and preference of the surgeon
  • For smooth implants placed under the pectoral muscle has broader mobility and appearance for the different positions of the body. This makes it more natural by resembling a bust size, shape and normal appearance
  •  If implant rupture occurs the cohesive silicone gel is easily removed. When that happens, removing of implants is required

(Read more about silicone breast implants and how to choose the right shapes and sizes here!)

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