Silicone vs. Saline Implants: Which is a Better Option?

February 8th, 2017

breast implants northern virginiaFairfax-area breast reconstruction patients have several options for recreating their breasts following a mastectomy. One of the choices they may make is whether to use natural tissue or breast implants. Some of the benefits of the latter option include a speedier surgery and recovery.

When I discuss implants as a breast reconstruction option, women frequently want to know whether I recommend silicone or saline. The short answer: I almost always advise patients to get silicone breast implants instead of saline implants. A more detailed explanation follows.

Natural Feel

An important goal for my Northern Virginia and Fairfax breast reconstruction patients is a restoration that feels like part of their body. Unfortunately, saline implants do not offer this result. They compress more like a water balloon than like natural tissue because they are filled with salt water.

Compare this to silicone breast implants. Silicone gel is much more viscous, and this thicker consistency feels much more like a natural breast. Its consistency is much more similar to your own tissue once the implant is inside the breast.

Natural Appearance

Breast reconstruction following a mastectomy allows you to choose your “after.” Whether you prefer small, perky, or big breasts, I can tailor your outcome to meet your goals.

A silicone breast implant helps us achieve this result more effectively. Because of the consistency of silicone, these implants tend to hold their shape and provide natural-looking fullness.

Saline implants have a liquid consistency. As a result, wrinkles and ripples are more pronounced on the surface of the implant and can show through the skin of the breast. This can be off-putting and can at times be visible through clothes.

Natural Movement

Your breast should move gracefully with your body. When that motion changes, it can feel and look less natural.

Because silicone is more cohesive, a silicone implant should allow your breast to move more like your own tissue. With saline’s watery consistency, a saline implant will be more mobile.

A Note About Safety

The breast reconstruction patients I see in the Fairfax area are understandably concerned about medical issues as they go through cancer treatment. Some are hesitant to use silicone implants due to the health scare with silicone in the 1990s.

Today, data gathered from millions of women shows no increased likelihood of developing a connective tissue disorder with silicone implants. I can discuss this data with you as well as the most recent findings related to the safety of implants.

Despite the research, some women still prefer to not have a silicone implant, and it is your preference that matters most. As a patient with my practice, you will guide the experience and shape the results you receive. I encourage you to discuss your expectations and concerns so that we can create an outcome that meets your goals.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Jespersen about breast reconstruction. Fairfax and Northern Virginia patients can call (703) 992-7969 for an appointment or complete our contact form online.

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