Bel Red Center for Aesthetic Surgery
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Silicone vs. Saline Breast Implants: Breast Augmentation by Bel-Red Center for Aesthetic Surgery

Seattle Breast Augmentation at Bel-Red Center for Aesthetic Surgery may have a profound impact on a woman’s life. From improved confidence to a more shapely figure, Dr. Zemplenyi is one of Seattle’s Breast Augmentation Experts at Bel-Red Center for Aesthetic Surgery.

Are Silicone Breast Implants Safe?

Folllowing a very thorough study the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel lifted the 14-year ban on silicone breast implants in 2006. Approval was granted for silicone breast implants manufactured by Allergan and Mentor. Since then the silicone implants have been steadily gaining in popularity, and they are now implanted more frequently than saline.

  • Silicone implants are pre-filled with silicone at time of manufacture.
  • Silicone is a sticky fluid that more closely mimics the feel of human fat (as compared to saline implants) when used for breast augmentation.
  • Silicone implants are available for breast augmentation for patients at least 22 years of age.
  • Silicone implants are available for breast reconstruction for patients of any age.

While the FDA currently recommends that women with silicone implants have Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) three years after surgery, and every two years thereafter, many doctors believe this is unnecessary. Considering the cost of an MRI that must be absorbed by the patient, and the unlikely rupture of the silicone implant, many plastic surgeons feel this advisory should be lifted. Additionally, the risks of the surgery to remove a ruptured implant may be more risky than the effect(s) of a ruptured saline implant.

Who Should Opt for Saline Implants?

Younger patients (under 22 years of age) seeking breast augmentation must use saline breast implants. The saline implant is inserted through a smaller skin incision. The implants are filled with saline, usually after insertion. Saline implants have been widely criticized for feeling unnatural. Additionally, patients complain that the saline implants tend to feel hard. Improvement in surgical techniques has decreased the unnatural effect in most patients. By placing the implant behind the patient’s chest muscle, most complaints have been eliminated; also, by overfilling the implant slightly can help decrease the unnatural feeling as well. Both saline and silicone implants may be inserted through the arm pit (trans-axillary) as well as the other approaches through the nipple and below the breast.

What Risks do Breast Implants Pose?

Both silicone and saline implants have similar risks:

  • Possibility of capsule formation with firmness of breast and possibly pain
  • Possibility of permanent sensation change of the nipple(s) or breast(s)
  • Asymmetry of the results
  • Leaking or ruptured implant(s)
  • Need for additional breast surgery

Additionally, as breast augmentation (using either saline or silicone) is a surgical procedure, it is crucial that the patient understand the inherent risks associated with any surgery. Dr. Zemplenyi will discuss every potential risk associated with surgical procedures, post-operative care and expectations during your pre-surgical visits and consultations. Generally, every surgical procedure has basic risks:

  • Potential for infection
  • Seroma (fluid collection)
  • Adverse scarring – scar tissue and capsule may distort the shape of breast
  • Rarely anesthesia-related problems

If an Implant Ruptures

Should a saline implant rupture, it will deflate. The released saline will cause a change in the breast shape and contour. As the saline is released, it will be absorbed by your body with no adverse health risks. To regain the desired shape and size, you will need to have additional surgery. If an implant ruptures, you will likely want to have the silicone shell removed and can have the new implant inserted at the same time.

When a silicone implant ruptures, the changes are not immediate – in fact, in some cases, the breast shows no signs of shape or size change after a silicone implant rupture. Although there is no evidence that silicone causes health problems (cancer, autoimmune disease, etc.), if the shape and size of your breast does change, you may choose to have the implant replaced.