Dr. Michael
Horn, M.D.

Recognized as Chicago's
Top Cosmetic Surgeon

Silicone or Saline Implants?

Silicone vs. Saline

The most popular implant options for breast augmentation are saline or silicone implants. Patients often wonder which implant type is best for them. To help make this choice easier it helps to know the difference between the types of implants and how they perform. You may also want to consult with a doctor such as Dr. Michael Horn in Chicago.

Insertion

Both silicone and saline implants are inserted as an outpatient procedure. An incision is made in which the empty saline implant is slipped, then positioned. Saline is then pumped into the implant to the correct size. Many surgeons place saline implants under the muscle which allows patients to have a more natural look and feel. The scar from saline implant insertion is usually small, about one inch long. Silicone implants are inserted in much the same way as saline, though silicone implants are pre-filled. This requires a larger incision which can lead to a larger scar than saline implants. Silicone implants are positioned under the breast tissue or partially under the muscle. Scars from the surgery are usually well hidden in natural skin creases. Women that need total reconstruction of the breast may prefer silicone due to the softer feel when less breast tissue is present.

Look and Feel

Saline implants can be positioned in a way that provides a natural looking result. The shape of saline implants is typically round. When positioned under the muscle of a woman that already has significant amount of breast tissue – a B to C cup (or larger) – saline can be almost undetectable. Women with much smaller breasts and a thin body frame benefit more from silicone implants as the edges of saline implants can be easily seen and felt on this type of body shape. Saline implants may wrinkle or fold, leading to a noticeable shape and feel. Silicone implants are less likely to ever fold, especially the newer ‘gummy bear’ implants which are made form a silicone that is highly cohesive.

Risks of Saline and Silicone

Some women prefer to use saline implants as they prefer having what they consider a more natural substance in their body. If a saline implant is broken then the saline is absorbed by the body. The only material left behind is the implant itself which can be removed. There is no guessing if a silicone implant breaks, as the saline is absorbed and the change in shape is noticeable as soon as the implant has lost saline. Silicone implants that break can removed and a new implant put in place. Silicone is not absorbed by the body. Fibrous tissue forms around the implants, known as encapsulation. The silicone may be held in place by this tissue and the break may not be detected. If changes in the shape of the breast are noticed and any inflammation present, a surgeon will remove the implant and silicone. A new implant can be placed.

Breast Augmentation Cost – Saline vs. Silicone

Some women base their decision on the cost. Saline implants can be less expensive than silicone. Women that can accept a sub-muscle implant and wish to save money may decide to go with a saline implant. Silicone is typically more expensive due to the manufacture of silicone. Silicone needs slightly more attention to placement and larger incisions, which may add to the cost. Generally the end result with both implant types can be beautiful. The decision to go with one type over the other can be based on personal preference, body type, or cost. Performance and durability depends on the manufacturer, though no implants claim to last a lifetime. Most implants will hold up well as long as they are placed correctly and are cared for properly, much like the care of natural breasts. If you have other questions, consult Dr. Michael Horn in Chicago for knowledgeable answers.

Are Saline or Silicone Breast Implants Right for Your Breast Augmentation?

If you’ve made the decision to alter your current breast size with a breast augmentation surgery, the next step is to decide between saline and silicone implants. When making this decision, it is important to understand the differences between the two implant types and the risk factors associated with each.

Silicone vs. Saline Brest Implants

The Saline Implant

  • Saline implants are encased by a silicone outer shell. The implant itself is inserted into the chest empty, then filled with sterile salt water. These implants are available for women who are older than 18 for breast augmentation.
  • Risk factors for a saline implant include capsular contracture (scar tissue that distorts the breast shape), infection, pain, implant leak or rupture, nipple sensation changes, and breast sensation changes.
  • If a saline implant ruptures, it will deflate and change the size and shape of the breast it was in. The saline is easily absorbed in your body and does not cause health risks. Surgery is required to remove the implant shell and insert a new implant.

The Silicone Implant

  • Silicone Implants are also encased by a silicone outer shell. They come pre-filled in specific CC amounts with a thick silicone-based fluid. These are available to women who are older than 22 for breast augmentation.
  • Risk factors for silicone implants are the same as saline implants and include capsular contracture, infection, pain, implant leaks, implant ruptures, nipple sensation changes, and breast sensation changes.
  • A ruptured silicone implant is not as noticeable as the silicone is trapped in the capsule of fibrous tissue around the implant. Silicone that leaks can cause breast pain and some breast shape changes. Surgical removal of the implant is required in the case of leakage.

Discuss all of your options with Dr. Horn during your breast augmentation consultation, preferably with a computer simulated view of what the sizes will look like on your frame. Choosing a size and shape that you are happy with is important and may prevent unnecessary additional surgeries just to adjust volume.

Let your doctor allow you to feel the difference in the texture of the implants so that you can see how natural they feel. Walk around with them in a bra to see their variances before you decide on one. These preparatory exercises will help you make the best choice and give you a breast augmentation outcome you will be more than happy with.

Top Plastic Surgeon
in Chicago
Dr. Michael A. Horn, M.D.

A skilled and caring professional, Dr. Michael Horn provides exceptional plastic surgery that is truly tailored to the individual patient. Renowned for his aesthetic results, Dr. Horn helps his patients achieve their appearance goals by combining experience, talent, and the highest quality medical care.

MEET DR. HORN
  • 60 East Delaware Place
  • 15th Floor
  • Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 202-9000

info@michaelhorncenter.com