Silicone breast implants were pulled off the market in the early 1990s because of fears they caused autoimmune disease, increased the risk of cancer and contributed to all sorts of health issues. However, after years, scientific studies found no link between silicone implants and an increased risk of any systemic disease or long-term health problems. If you are thinking about breast augmentation, you can safely choose between silicone and saline breast implants.
With that said, women seek breast augmentation to make their breasts larger and/or fuller. At times this is a reconstruction, like after a mastectomy, but often it is for cosmetic reasons. Regardless, if you are seeking breast augmentation, there are multiple decisions. Many start thinking about size, but even more important is choosing between silicone and saline breast implants.
All breast implants have a silicone outer shell. However, they differ in the material filling the implant. Saline is sterile salt water and silicone is a thick, sticky silicone gel that more closely imitates human fat. This means that silicone breast implants more closely look and feel like natural breasts. Nonetheless, both have similar risks such as capsular contracture, infections, and implant leakage.
Still, there are some additional differences. Saline implants are often inserted empty, and then filled, while silicone implants are pre-filled. This means a saline implant requires a smaller incision. Also, the FDA limits the use of silicone to those over 22 years of age due to breast development.
The final consideration is leakage. If an implant gets a hole, it will leak. When a saline implant leaks, the body absorbs the fluid without any health risk. Medical saline is a sterile mixture of salt and water used to flush wounds and skin abrasions. Nonetheless, removal of the silicone shell is necessary. On the other hand, silicone often remains within the fibrous tissue that forms around the implant. But the removal of the implant is necessary to avoid eventual changes to breast shape or possible discomfort.
Your surgeon will help you choose the right breast implant for the results you are seeking. Regardless, the final choice is up to you. If you would like to talk about choosing between silicone and saline breast implants, or need more information, please contact us.
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