Currently, two types of FDA approved implants are available: saline and silicone. Saline implants are FDA approved for women age 18 and above and Silicone cohesive gel implants are approved for women age 22 years and older. The two FDA breast implant makers, Allergan and Mentor have “branded” their silicone cohesive gel implants for marketing purposes. Allergan has named their implants Natrelle while Mentor named their implants Memory Gel. I have used both, and would feel absolutely confident and comfortable placing either of them in a patient or family member.
When deciding between saline and silicone gel implants, many women choose based on a friends experience or after reading online about anothers experience. Although this is good, there is much more to take into consideration when making such an individual and personal choice.
First, is the difference between how saline and silicone implants feel. Most women say the silicone gel implants feel more like natural breast tissue compared to saline implants. Women who have had both have said lying on their stomach with saline implants feels like lying on two little beach balls while silicone gel implants feel more like part of their body.
Second is wrinkling and rippling of the implants. Silicone gel implants wrinkle and ripple less than saline implants. How much you will notice this (feel and wrinkling or rippling) depends on how much breast tissue you have naturally. The less breast tissue you have to cover the implant, the more you may notice the rippling, wrinkling, or feel of the implant. Some say they feel no difference between the two, but keep in mind, if you have a large amount of breast tissue to begin with you won’t be able to feel this difference as well.
The third thing to consider is, both implant types will eventually rupture around ten years after implantation. Saline implant ruptures are detectable by looking in the mirror and noting the difference between the breasts. The saline that fills the bag is the same as IV fluid. It typically leaks out within 24-48 hours. Detecting an implant rupture with silicone implants requires monitoring with an MRI, as recommended by the FDA. It is recommended that a screening MRI be performed 3 years after augmentation and every 2 years thereafter. It is important to note here, as well, that the new cohesive silicone gel implant is one of the most extensively studied medical devices of our time, and has not yet been associated with any type of illness.
Finally, there is the topic of symmetry. Saline implants can be filled to different amounts to help achieve a close symmetry between the two breasts. This will most always be more successful than silicone gel implants can achieve. The main factor however is the amount of asymmetry between your breasts to start out with. I have yet to find breasts that are exactly the same from one side to the other. That being said; unless you are noticeably different between sides, silicone gel implants will do an excellent job. If you have dramatic differences between the sides, different size implants, regardless of whether they are saline or silicone gel implants, will likely be used on each side.
Overall, choosing your implant depends on many factors and you should take the above factors into consideration rather than basing it on someone else’s opinion. Coming in for your consultation, feeling the implants in your hands, and getting a full assessment by Dr. Pancholi will really help you understand what unique circumstances your body presents and what will help you achieve your best result. To schedule a consultation, click here.