There are two main types of breast implants for use in augmentation and reconstruction: silicone breast implants and saline. Breast implants generally have an outer shell and are filled with either saline or silicone. The silicone in a silicone breast implant is a synthetic material that is thick and mimics the feel of fat; it is inert and sterile. In the late eighties, there was a scare that resulted in FDA regulation and banning of silicone. Subsequent research proved that the scare was unfounded, and that silicone was a safe material to use in implants.
Silicone breast implants have evolved since their reintroduction to the market and there are now two varieties to choose from: silicone gel or highly cohesive gel. When weighing the options between implant types, it’s important to understand the benefits and potential drawbacks of each type.
Pros of Silicone Breast Implants: Why They May Be Right For You
• “Better” Feel
• Style options
• Less Rippling
Silicone Breast Implants Offer “Better” Feel
Silicone breast implants are often described as softer, and more like natural fat tissue. The edges of the implant are also less noticeable. Thin patients with small breasts often select silicone breast implants because they are less detectable–a consultation with Dr. Gerstle is the best way to find out what type of implant would work best for your unique anatomy.
Silicone Breast Implants Offer Style Options
Because there two varieties of silicone breast implants, there are more styles of implants. The cohesive gel implants are “gummy bear like,” and can be formed into an anatomical shape. This shape offers lower projection at the base of the breast. A regular silicone implant creates a fuller appearance at the top of the breast.
Less Rippling in Silicone Implants
Silicone breast implants are made of thicker, viscous material (or gummy-like cohesive gel) and are less prone to rippling than saline implants. This is also why silicone is preferred by smaller breasted women.
Drawbacks of Silicone Breast Implants
• Must be older than 22
• Ruptures can go undetected
• Larger incisions/limited incision placement options
Silicone Breast Implants are recommended only for patient 22 or older
The FDA has only approved silicone implants for use in patients 22 years or older. The studies in the clinical approval trials only included women 22 years old and up, so silicone breast implants are only recommended for the same age range. Silicone breast implant manufacturers stipulate in their warranties that the patient must be 22 years or older, or be considered a reconstructive or deformity patient. The device manufacturer will void the device warranty if the implants are placed prior to the patient turning 22.
MRI scanning is often required to determine if a rupture has occurred
While rupture rates are low, they do happen. Because the body absorbs water, saline ruptures are detected quickly–the affected breast becomes noticeably smaller. Silicone is not absorbed and a rupture may go undetected without the use of MRI scanning. New highly cohesive gel implants do not rupture like silicone gel implants; they stay intact should a tear occur.
The inframammary fold incision and placement is the most common for a good reason
Silicone gel breast implants are filled before placement, so a large incision is required. Under the breast, in the inframammary fold, this incision is well-hidden.
Are Silicone Breast Implants Right for You? Consult with Dr. Gerstle.
To feel the difference for yourself and speak with Dr. Gerstle about the options for your body, schedule a consultation today with our Lexington Surgeons.