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Breast Implants: Silicone Or Saline?

Over the past couple of years, we have had the opportunity to discuss breast augmentation with hundreds of women and it seems to us a few questions are asked by just about everyone. One of the most common questions is “What’s the difference between saline and silicone implants?”

Ultimately, the choice of saline or silicone implants is yours. Many women feel silicone implants look and feel more natural. However, there are other important considerations as well: body type, implant placement (over or under the chest muscle) and fill volume.

Typically, thin women with smaller natural breasts with above muscle placement are going to prefer the look and feel of silicone. In the long term, silicone implants weigh less than saline and will cause less sagging. On the downside, silicone implants cost more and require a slightly larger incision. Also, in the rare event that a silicone implant leaks, it is difficult to detect.

Size and placement of the incision is understandably a common concern among patients. There are several different surgical approaches, including periaerolar (around the nipple), tranaxillary (through the arm pit), and inframammary (the bottom of the breast where the breast tissue meets the chest wall). Some even go through the belly button (though not with silicone)! Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages.

The size of incision varies based on location and implant type. Saline implants are placed “unfilled,” and typically fit through a 2.5 cm incision. Silicone implants are “filled” and incision size depends on the size of the implant and the ability to safely compress it. Larger silicone implants naturally require a larger incision.

At GLOW, we principally use the inframammary approach as we find it is well hidden, heals well, and allows us the necessary access for proper implant placement. With the recent addition of the Keller funnel to our practice, we have reduced silicone incision size to 3-4 cm. A smaller incision may mean more women choosing silicone implants.

The decision to undergo breast augmentation is a personal one, and women understandably spend a great deal of time researching options. If you would like more information regarding what to expect during and after your procedure, please feel free to contact us at any time.