Since the FDA’s approval of silicone breast implants last month, women now have the option to choose silicone or saline implants for their breast augmentation. As with all of life’s choices, there are pros and cons to silicone implants. Here are the pros:
1. The silicone implants have a much more natural look and feel than saline implants. The less of your own breast tissue you have, the more important this will be for you.
2. Because of their more natural texture, silicone implants need less camouflage than saline ones and can be placed above the muscle of the chest wall more often.
3. Depending on each patient’s anatomy, a silicone implant may be more effective in giving a woman “cleavage” primarily because of #2.
4. The risk of wrinkling is lower than with a saline breast implant.
5. Studies have shown that approximately 95% of women who had silicone breast augmentation are satisfied with their results and would choose to have this surgery again.
The cons of silicone breast implants include:
1. No implant (saline or silicone) can be considered a lifetime device. With all implants, there is a risk of leak or rupture. While a leak is usually obvious with a saline implant as the breast takes on a deflated appearance, a silicone implant leak can be difficult to diagnose. In fact, studies have shown that an experienced plastic surgeon can only diagnose a leak in 30% of cases whereas an MRI can diagnose a leak 89% of the time. For this reason, the FDA has recommended a screening MRI 3 years after silicone implant augmentation and every 2 years thereafter looking for rupture.
2. If a silicone implant has leaked it should be removed to prevent irritation to the surrounding breast tissue and migration of the silicone to other parts of the body, such as lymph nodes. The surgery to remove a ruptured silicone implant may be more extensive and more costly than removing a ruptured saline implant. With either saline or silicone implants, the ruptured implant can usually be replaced at the same time with a new implant.
3. Saline implants are usually placed mostly empty then filled once they are inside a woman’s breast while silicone implants are placed at their full volume. This means the incision to place a silicone implant is usually slightly larger than with a saline implant and some incision choices may not be available. Silicone implants cannot be placed through an incision in the belly button.
4. Silicone implants are more expensive than saline implants.
Making an informed decision about your surgery is an important aspect of being happy with the results of your breast augmentation. No article can replace the valuable information you will receive during a personal consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Please feel free to visit my website by clicking on the button that says “Visit Doctor’s Website” on the left side of my introduction page under my picture.