Silicone or Saline? Making the Right Breast Augmentation Choices – Decisions, Decisions! Part 1

Dr. Paul Wigoda Plastic Surgery Saline or Silicone Implants

Dr. Paul Wigoda Plastic Surgery Decisions, Decisions: Saline or Silicone Implants?

Each year, hundreds of women undergo breast implant surgery with Dr. Paul Wigoda. Most women undergo the procedure to enlarge breasts that are naturally small or to correct disproportionate breasts. Some combine breast augmentation and breast lift to add volume as well as create a more youthful bust line. And some, receive implants during breast reconstruction following a mastectomy.  No matter your reason for considering implants there are a number of decisions you will need to make with your doctor prior to your surgery. Here are some of them:

– Breast implant type – Saline or silicone gel?

– Breast implant volume – How big?

– Breast implant dimensions – How wide and how projecting?

– Breast implant shape – Round or teardrop?

– Breast implant surface – Smooth or textured shell surface?

– Breast implant insertion site – Axillary, breast fold, or periareolar?

– Breast implant position – Above or under the pectoralis major muscle?

Over the next few weeks we will examine pro’s and con’s of the various alternatives.

Today we look at Saline vs. Silicone.

Saline vs. Silicone Gel

Advantages of silicone gel breast implants:

  1. Softer to touch, feel more like breast tissue. Silicone gel is an oil, similar to the fatty tissues of the breasts. Saline is simply saltwater
  2. Reduced rippling relative to saline implants. All implant edges ripple. Try putting water in a Glad bag and look at the edges of the bag. You will definitely see less rippling with oil in a bag than water in the same bag

Advantages of saline implants:

  1. Smaller incisions. The average incision for saline is 3 cm (just over an inch). Since silicone gel implants are pre-filled by the manufacturer, they require a 4 to 5 cm incision
  2. Lower cost
  3. If the implant does rupture, it becomes obvious after a few days or weeks whereas silicone implants do not shrink when they rupture

So which one should you choose?

Silicone gel breast implants are probably better from a purely cosmetic standpoint: they feel very similar to breast tissue.  Saline breast implants are probably better from a purely safety standpoint: it’s hard to argue with the safety of a bag of saltwater. In general, if you have a reasonable amount of breast tissue, subcutaneous fat, and breast tone, saline implants will be reasonably well-camouflaged and may be a good choice. On the other hand, if your breasts are very small (A minus), you are extremely thin, and/or have poor breast tone (i.e. you don’t have much tissue to cover your implants), you may want to consider silicone gel.

At the end of the day, only you and your doctor can choose the right type of implants for you. Dr. Paul Wigoda’s Fort Lauderdale-based plastic surgery center offers both silicone and saline implants and we are happy to help you decide what’s best for you during a free consultation.  Call us at 954.463.7088 to schedule your visit!

See the our next blog post on this series: Breast Implants and Size: Making the Right Choice by Dr. Wigoda