Saline vs. Silicone: How do you choose?

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The first silicone breast implant was developed in 1961 by two surgeons (Cronin and Gerow) from the program where I was trained in Houston, Texas. Since that time, millions of women have been extremely satisfied with a simple one hour procedure.

Currently, women have many options with respect to their breast implant procedure (incisions, above or below the muscle, size of the implant and saline vs. silicone), with one of the most important decisions you must make is whether you prefer a silicone gel or saline (salt water) filled implant.

How do you decide?

Saline implants are clearly the “safest” implant as the fluid placed in the implant is IV fluid and completely harmless. Saline implants are placed empty or with little fluid in them allowing for a smaller incision (1 inch) as compared to the silicone implants which are pre-filled. Once the saline implants are filled, adjustments can be made in how much fluid is added to each implant—this makes these particularly well suited to correct small asymmetries between your breasts. The post-op appearance of these implants is often more of a “round” look, slightly firmer to the touch, and the edges of the implant can be more “visible” than their silicone counterparts.

Silicone implants are pre-filled and the size must be selected either by you at your consult or by me at the time of surgery if there is a question as to what you would like. These implants need a slightly larger incision (1½ inches) to accommodate the placement of the full implant, but they are more natural in their appearance and feel. These implants are filled with a silicone gel, and although not as “safe” as IV fluid, dozens of studies have looked at thousands of women and never found a link between the silicone and any health related problems.

If you are considering a breast augmentation, do not hesitate to call or text us at LJC. After surgery, many of my patients question why they waited so long to solve a problem that has bothered them for years—with a simple procedure that is completed in less than an hour.

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