Breast augmentation with implants has been done for decades to enhance the shape and size of a woman’s breast. Today, a woman has a choice to use a saline filled or a silicone gel filled implant. The reality is, there is not a perfect implant, and both are safe with their own individual advantages and disadvantages.
The silicone gel implant was reintroduced to the market a little over ten years ago after passing clinical trials to resolve issues that occurred with the initial gel implants. The implants were redesigned with a more cohesive matter that would help with the implant shape and lessen the rates of rupture. The main advantage of the gel implant is that it is a semisolid material that replicates the density of breast tissue and thus has that ‘natural’ feel. The main disadvantage to this type of implant is that if rupture were to occur, it would only be detectable by an expensive MRI study, as there would be no visual or palpable change in the shape of the breast.
The saline implant has been available for many years and was the only implant available when the silicone gel was taken off market for redesign and clinical trials in the early 1990’s. The main advantage of this implant is the obvious detectability if rupture were to occur; the saline would simply be absorbed into the body and the breast would shrink. The main disadvantage of the saline implant is that it doesn’t replicate the properties of the breast tissue as naturally since it is fluid filled. Since it is not a semisolid, on thinner patients, rippling in the breast skin can occur in some areas.
One must always consider the rupture rate of both implants. While the chance of rupture for both is relatively low, the saline implant ruptures at a rate that is approximately 10 times higher than that of the gel implant.
My personal experience is that since the gel implant has been improved and available, most patients opt for that more ‘natural’ result that it offers, but the bottom line is, we have millions of patients who are happy, confident, and have had no issues with either type of implant. Ultimately, the type of implant you choose is based on personal choice and recommendations on shape and size made by your surgeon.