Saline and Silicone Breast Implant Risks and Benefits

By Carmel Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeons on May 25, 2011

Breast augmentation surgery is one of the most popular plastic surgery options available today. The surgery involves the placement of breast implants to help increase breast size and improve the overall shape and contour of the breasts. Many patients who come to our Indianapolis area plastic surgery practice have achieved great results after breast augmentation surgery thanks to the expertise of Dr. Elizabeth A. Grasee and Dr. Debra C. Bergman.

Realistic Expectations

All surgeries, whether elective or medically necessary, carry with them a certain degree of risk. We feel that it’s important that our prospective patients be made aware of these risks (and benefits) before they decide that plastic surgery is right for them. Right now we’d like to take a brief moment to discuss the risks and benefits associated with saline breast implants and silicone breast implants. These can be discussed in greater detail during a full breast augmentation consultation at our office.

Silicone Breast Implants

Let’s first start with silicone breast implants and their benefits. In general, silicone breast implants look and feel much more natural than saline breast implants. Rippling of the skin which sometimes occurs with saline breast implants is generally less common with silicone breast implants.

As for risks associated with silicone breast implants, the biggest one involves breast implant ruptures. When a silicone implant leaks or ruptures, the silicone gel slowly releases into and, on occasion, outside of the capsule that forms around the implant. Since the collapse of the silicone breast implant is slow, detecting a rupture may be difficult.

Saline Breast Implants

With saline breast implants, there are numerous benefits to consider. For one, in case of rupture, saline breast implants deflate rather quickly, meaning that a rupture can be detected and dealt with soon after it occurs. Saline breast implants also provide surgeons with more incision options for inserting the breast implants. Whereas silicone breast implants are often placed through incisions along the underside of the breast or around the areola, saline breast implants can be placed through incisions made in the armpit and the navel. This means no easily visible scarring.

As for the risks of saline breast implants, patients need to consider the previously mentioned texture and aesthetic concerns. Rippling is more common with saline breast implants, and while many patients are quite satisfied with the results, saline breast implants do not feel as natural as silicone breast implants.

Risks to Consider for Both Silicone and Saline Breast Implants

For both silicone breast implants and saline breast implants, patients need to also consider another potential risk: capsular contracture. Capsular contracture occurs when scar tissue forms following surgery and tightens around the breast implants, causing them to harden. This alters the shape of the breasts and can be painful as well. Secondary surgery is necessary to deal with capsular contracture.

For more information about breast augmentation surgery, it’s important that you contact Carmel Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeons in Carmel, Indiana. During the consultation process, we’ll be able to assess your situation and determine which kind of breast implants may be better for your needs and goals.

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