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The Breast Augmentation Debate: Silicone v. Saline

Author: Burt Faibisoff, M.D., FRCS (C)

If you’ve done your research on breast augmentation surgery, then you know one of, if not the, biggest debates is silicone v. saline. Which looks better? Which lasts longer? Which is the safest?

Both silicone and saline breast implants have pros and cons. Patients should take advantage of physician input to decide which is best for them. Here are a few facts to consider in the silicone v. saline debate.

Silicone Implants

Silicone implants are made of a special gel, which closely resembles human fat in appearance. Most women tend to think that silicone implants have a close resemblance to natural breasts.

Pros

  • Natural shape and feel
  • Tend to last longer than saline implants
  • Less rippling (compared to saline implants)

Cons

  • Unavailable to women under age 22
  • Risk of leaking
  • Patient may have to undergo routine screening MRIs to look for leakage

Saline Implants

Saline implants are empty shells. They are filled with sterile saline to create a fuller bust.

Pros

  • Can be cheaper than silicone implants
  • Regular MRI breast examinations not necessary
  • Smaller surgical incision (compared to silicone implants)

Cons

  • Risk of leaking
  • Must be placed under the muscles

What About “Gummy Bear” Implants?

In addition to saline and silicone implants, you may have heard about “Gummy Bear” implants. This term refers to a type of silicone gel that is more cohesive than the gel in traditional silicone implants. The implants get their colloquial name from gummy bear candies, which feel as if they are filled with liquid even though they are not.

Because of their unique makeup, “Gummy Bear” implants are believed to not leak when ruptured (as is common with regular silicone implants). For now, most women seeking breast augmentation surgery will not have the option of considering this type of implant, as most “Gummy Bear” implants do not have FDA approval. However, it’s possible that Gummy Bear implants could become available in the next few years.

Have more questions about breast augmentation? Would you like to know if you’re a candidate for breast augmentation? Take our online Self-Assessment.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.

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