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    Silicone Vs Saline: How To Choose The Right Breast Implants For You

    A Silicone Implant

    A Silicone Implant

    Choosing between the two competing types of breast implants can be a difficult task, but help is at hand! At the Plastic Surgery Institute of Atlanta, helping you to achieve the look you desire in the best and safest way possible is our priority. The two choices available to you are saline and silicone implants. Both have a silicone casing, but it’s what’s inside that counts! The number of silicone implants has been on the rise since their FDA approval in 2006 but plastic surgeons continue to use both as they each have their advantages.

    Silicone implants are pre-filled with a cohesive silicone gel and resemble the natural feel of breast tissue. Although ruptures can still occur, with silicone implants they are usually undetectable with out use of an MRI, this is known as a “silent rupture”. The FDA recommends an MRI three years after insertion, and every two years after that to check for ruptures. Because they are prefilled, silicone implants (especially of the textured or ‘gummy’ variety) do require larger incisions for insertion.

    Saline implants, however, are not prefilled and are filled after insertion by the surgeon, allowing for a smaller incision to be made. Saline implants are filled with saline solution (sterile salt water) similar to fluid already inside the body. In the case of a rupture, saline implants are a lot more noticeable as the saline solution will leak in to the body with out harm causing an obvious change in the size and shape of the breast(s).

    Here’s Dr McCluskey’s thoughts on the choice between saline and silicone:

    “When a patient arrives for consultation I want to discuss her interest in breast augmentation – why does she want breast augmentation, what are her goals in terms of size, fullness, lifting, or correction of asymmetry?  I then show my patients samples of both silicone gel and saline implants.  The two types of implants have a distinctly different feel and it is important that the patient knows the difference.  Silicone gel implants in my opinion feel more like natural breast tissue and it is less likely that the patient will be able to see or feel ripples.  Rippling can occur with either saline or silicone gel breast implants and in many cases it is a result of the patient having very thin skin.

    Patients typically arrive at a consultation with a preconceived idea of which type of implant they prefer.  Some patients only want saline because that is what their friends have and their friends are very happy.   Others like the feel of silicone gel implants and have no interest in a saline implant.  Despite these preferences the patients still want to know my opinion about which implant is best for them.  As stated above, one of the key deciding factors relates to the thickness of the skin and breast tissue.  If the patient has very thin skin then I’d likely recommend a silicone gel implant to avoid rippling.  If a patient is concerned about the appearance of the inframammary incision and she prefers the axillary (underarm) incision then I recommend saline implants.  On that note, I consider both the axillary and the inframammary to be well-hidden, nearly invisible incisions.

    Ultimately deciding between silicone gel and saline implants comes down to patient preference.  The good news is that there is no wrong decision.  Our experience with these implants shows that patients are typically highly satisfied with breast augmentation surgery regardless of implant style.  That said, I’ve had many consultations end with the patient asking me this question:  If I performed breast augmentation on my wife or girlfriend which implant would I choose?  If left up to me I’d choose high profile silicone gel implants.  They mimic the feel of natural breast tissue and I like the projection of high profile implants.”

    For more information on other services Dr. McCluskey provides visit