Source: Mentor® company website

Source: Mentor® company website

When undergoing breast augmentation, one key choice is silicone versus saline implants. Dr. Zuckerman generally recommends that patients select silicone implants for their breast augmentation, because they have a more natural feel and lower incidence of wrinkles and rippling. However, saline are less expensive and are approved for younger patients. Both kinds are FDA-approved; both are made by all three major breast implant manufacturers; and as your surgeon, Dr. Zuckerman is happy to use either kind after discussion with you about your goals. Below is a list of facts and risks for each type of implant with the two key disadvantages of saline implants bolded.

Silicone Implants

Saline Implants

• Silicone outer shell, inner shell filled with thick, silicone gel • Silicone out shell, inner shell filed with saline solution
• Rupture or leakage must be detected via MRI • Rupture or leakage is easily absorbed by the body
• FDA-Approved for use in patients 22+ • FDA-Approved for use in patients 18+
• Approximately $1,300 per set • Approximately $800- $900 per set
• Requires larger Incision • Requires smaller Incision
• Pre-filled by manufacturer • Filled by surgeon
• Softer, more natural feel • More firm, less natural feel
• Lower risk of implant wrinkles & ripples • Risk of implant wrinkles & ripples
• "Silent Failure" • Deflation is visible
• FDA-Approved since May 2000 • FDA-Approved since Nov 2006
• Advantageous if exceptionally thin
• Advantageous if undergoing breast reconstruction

Dr. Zuckerman Q&A: What happens if a silicone breast implant leaks or ruptures?

This is the most common question I receive from patients with regard to silicone breast implants. Today's breast implants are extremely safe; we are currently on our fifth generation of silicone breast implants. Leak or rupture is a very low probability event. When a breast implant of either silicone or saline is placed into the body, fibrous tissue known as a capsule forms around the implant. For a saline implant, leaks are easily reabsorbed by the body. For silicone, most often, leaks or ruptures are contained within the capsule, which is called a "silent failure" or "silent rupture". It is possible, however, for this capsule to then become inflamed causing the patient pain, swelling, soreness, or changes in breast firmness. If this is the case, you should see your surgeon about possibly replacing the implant. Leaks or rupture can be detected via an MRI scan. (Breast implants of either type are not intended to be lifetime devices and may need replacement later in life.) In the very rare case that the silicone gel from an implant escapes the fibrous capsule, which would require a blunt force trauma to the chest of similar intensity to a car accident without seatbelt, the silicone gel has been shown to be biologically inert. It has been shown not to increase the risk of breast cancer and not to increase the risk of autoimmune disease. And, it doesn't leach out into breast milk while breastfeeding.