Breast augmentation is either performed using saline- or silicone-filled breast implants, devices which not only increase the bust size but also regain the lost volume after childbirth.
In terms of popularity, silicone breast implants are almost outpacing the saline version. This is not surprising because they provide a more natural result since they are filled with a cohesive gel that is designed to replicate the feel of breast tissue and fat.
The growing popularity of silicone breast implant can be attributed to the FDA’s decision to lift the ban in 2006 after several studies have suggested that there is no link between its use and cancer risk and systemic diseases.
Another reason why silicone implants are more popular than saline is that they are very ideal for women with little tissue and fat in their breasts. And not surprising, a significant number of patients seeking breast augmentation have this anatomical feature.
On the other hand, saline implants can provide a natural appearance only if there is a moderate to significant amount of tissue and breast plastic surgeons can work with.
Meanwhile, a 2009 survey released by the American Society of Plastic surgeons revealed that 50 percent of breast augmentation patients had chosen silicone implants.
Right after the lifting of the 16-year ban, silicone implant is gaining on saline version every year. In 2007, 35 percent of breast implants used in surgery were silicone and they jumped by 47 percent a year after.
Difference Between Saline and Silicone Implants:
* Saline implants are filled with a sterile salt and water solution while the silicone version is filled with a cohesive silicone gel.
* Saline implants are prone to sloshing, which in turn results to higher risk of downward displacement than silicone with the same size. For this reason, some doctors intentionally overfill the saline implants.
* Silicone implants need longer incision than the saline version, unless they come in a very small size. By contrast, saline implants require a short surgical cut because they are placed empty inside the breast pocket before they are inflated with a sterile saltwater solution.
* Silicone implants can maintain their volume for years (except if there is a leak or implant failure) unlike the saline ones which have a natural deflation rate of 1 percent every year.
* For patients with a little amount of breast tissue, saline implants often result to unflattering, dome-shaped breasts while the silicone implants can provide a more natural result.
However, saline and silicone implants provide almost the same aesthetic result for women with moderate to significant amount of breast tissue.