Popularity Contest: Saline vs. Silicone

Almost all plastic surgeons who perform breast augmentation offer the option of silicone or saline breast implants. At my Tampa-area practice, choosing between these two materials is often one of the most difficult decisions for my patients. Each is FDA-approved and has advantages and trade-offs, so the choice really comes down to personal preference. So which implant type do most people prefer?

Silicone: New and Improved

In recent years, silicone implants have become the preferred breast implant type at my practice. This is partially because silicone implants are more durable than ever and also because they provide a more natural look and feel to the breasts. Unlike previous generations of silicone implants, the implant type I use (Mentor® MemoryGel®) contains a cohesive silicone gel that holds together even if the implant ruptures. This means there is very little risk of the silicone material getting into the body. The cohesive silicone gel also more closely resembles the texture, weight, and feel of natural breast tissue.

Saline: A Trusted Option

Saline implants are favored by women partially for their safety profile. Saline implants contain a harmless saltwater solution that poses no health risks to the body if the implant leaks. Also, because of improved surgical techniques, saline implants can be placed in such a way that looks and feels very natural. Saline implants can be used on women younger than age 22, while silicone implants are available only for women 22 years and older.

The Winner

Although silicone implants are more frequently chosen, both implant types have benefits. By talking with a board-certified plastic surgeon, you can better understand whether silicone or saline implants will best meet your needs.

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