Breast Augmentation: Saline vs. Silicone Implants

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If you’re considering getting a breast augmentation, there are two types of implants to choose from: saline and silicone. You’ll want to compare your options and choose the one that works best for you. The following is a comparison to help with your breast enhancement options.

Breast Augmentation: Saline vs. Silicone Implants

Minimum Age

Your breasts can develop until as late in life as your early 20s. For that reason, the FDA requires you to be at least age 18 for saline-filled implants, and 22 for silicone implants. So if you’re 18 to 21 years old and you cannot wait for breast augmentation, the decision has already been made for you. If you’re at least age 22, then either option is available.

Feel

Many women indicate that silicone implants feel more like real breast tissue than the saline version. However, each woman has her own preferences and may not agree with the opinion of another.

Risks

Both types of breast implants carry risks. These include:

  • Additional surgeries
  • Pain
  • Rupture of implants
  • Scar tissue that squeezes the implant

Speak with your surgeon for details on any risks you could face prior to making a decision.

Cost

Saline implants are typically cheaper than silicone implants. This is because the surgeon’s fee is around $3,583 for saline and $4,005 for silicone—a $422 difference. With the overall cost typically ranging from $4,000 to $10,000, this amounts to a savings of four to 11 percent.

Maintenance

Silicone implants may require more maintenance than the saline variety. You’ll need to get an MRI scan three years after your surgery when using silicone and then approximately every two years after that to check for a silent rupture, which occurs when an implant ruptures without any obvious symptoms. You won’t have that problem with a saline implant as it would deflate and the saline would be safely absorbed by your body.However, the cohesive structure of the newer silicone implants is highly resistant to rupture or leakage.

Regardless of which option you choose, breast implants must be replaced at some point to maintain a youthful appearance of the breasts. One in five women needs to have them replaced within 10 years. This means that four in five do not, so odds are yours will last at least a decade.

Popularity

Silicone implants are used far more than saline implants with about seven in 10 breast augmentations involving the former. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), 72 percent of breast augmentations in 2012 used silicone while 28 percent used saline.

Regardless of which option you choose, you won’t be the first person to have this procedure. Breast augmentation was the top cosmetic surgical procedure in 2012 with more than 330,000 surgeries for this purpose.