When we perform a breast augmentation, we can use either silicone gel or saline implants. There was a time when we used saline implants almost exclusively, but not anymore. Why? If you ask patients with deflated saline implants, like the two we saw in our Santa Rosa office this week, they can tell you why!
1) Saline implants can deflate like a flat tire. Patients with deflated implants need a second operation that silicone gel patients won’t need. Sometimes that replacement saline implant deflates, and the patient needs a third operation! That’s usually when the patient cries “uncle” and switches to silicone gel implants.
2) In patients with little breast tissue, saline implants can feel like bags of water?which is what they are.
3) Saline implants are more likely to show ripples and wrinkles, especially along the side and underneath.
4) Saline implants are filled fuller to prevent wrinkling of the implant. Consequently they look less natural than silicone gels, especially in thin women.
5) A saline implant is heavier than a silicone gel implant of the same volume.
6) Are you interested in a shaped implant? There are lots of silicone gel options. Salines? Not so much.
A few years ago, right after the new silicone gel implants were approved by the FDA, patients came in requesting saline implants, the “safe implants.” Now that so many women have had experience with both, the pendulum has shifted. In our practice, that trend has reversed. Patients who have done their research come in requesting silicone gel implants, “the ones that look and feel more natural.”
The funny thing about medicine is that medical knowledge and technology are constantly improving, so nothing stays the same. As plastic surgeons, we love to embrace the advances that add joy to our patients’ lives. After all, that is our mission.