The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports an increase in patients seeking breast augmentation in 2013. The number of patients seeking silicone gel implants topped those seeking saline implants. With the FDA approving cohesive silicone implants, it’s not surprising that 72 percent of the augmentation mammoplasties reported by ASPS members were for silicone gel implants.

This brings up a concern that many women have over the safety of silicone. When opting for a breast augmentation, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of silicone gel versus saline breast implants. The more you understand about these implants, the easier it is to make your decision.

Cohesive Gel Implants vs. Saline Implants

Cohesive gel or gummy bear implants mimic the natural shape of a breast, but the silicone gel inside them is thicker than that found in silicone implants of the past. If the implant is sliced or punctured, the gel does not shift and the implant maintains its shape. All three manufacturers of breast implants now offer FDA-approved cohesive gel implants.

With a saline implant, a plastic shell is inserted into the area of the breast, either under the muscle of the chest wall, under the breast tissue muscle, or behind the breast. This shell is then filled with a saline (salt water) solution.

Shape and Firmness

The decision between silicone gel and saline implants often comes down to the shape you want to gain. If you want a natural-looking breast augmentation, silicone gel implants are the ideal choice for many women. The newer tear drop-shaped implants provide a fuller lower breast and a more tapered top. Many feel that silicone gel implants also feel more natural.

Saline implants are generally rounder and firm to the touch. If you want a full, round breast, these may be the better option.

Safety of Silicone and Saline Implants

Both silicone gel and saline implants are safe. In the rare case of a rupture, the body readily absorbs the saline solution in saline implants. With cohesive silicone implants, the gel is not going to leak out into the surrounding tissue as the implants retains its shape.

Age Requirements

For women who want a breast augmentation before reaching their 22nd birthday, the options are generally limited to saline implants. Companies like Natrelle only allow their silicone implants to be used in patients who are 22 years of age or older.

Dr. Robert Kessler discussed innovations in breast implants at the 2013 Summit in Aesthetic Medicine. The board certified plastic surgeon’s expertise in breast augmentation surgery makes him an excellent resource for gaining more information regarding your options. View before and after photos of one of his breast augmentation patients and see for yourself. To schedule a consultation in his Newport Beach, California, office, call 949.644.6544.

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