More About Breast Implants: Silicone vs Saline for Breast Augmentation
One of the BIG decisions you’ll make about Breast Augmentation is the TYPE of breast implant you want to use.
- The most popular breast implant choice for patients and Surgeons is high-grade SILICONE implants.
- In Australia, 2 popular, Surgeon-respected brands are MENTOR Implants and MOTIVA implants.
Download Our Breast Augmentation Guide
What are breast enlargement prosthesis made of? Silicone vs Saline Breast Implants
After choosing your Plastic Surgeon, a big step – the next thing you’ll consider for your breast augmentation surgery is:
- the type of breast implants
- the size of the implant
- the texture
- the projection
Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon, Dr Rebecca Wyten, will help you understand what factors are important to consider when making good size choices for breast implants for your operation.
Things to consider:
- existing physique
- skin tissues
- if you’re very thin or athletic vs having adequate body fat
- skin condition/elasticity and resiliency (will it hold an implant or do you need a breast lift along with your breast implants to get the rounded, uplifted breast shape you’re wanting?)
- what you’re aiming for in terms of augmentation and cleavage results.
Another thing to consider is what the breast implants are made of in terms of the outer casing (shell) and internal contents (fill).
- All modern breast implants have a rubberised-type of silicone outer shell, no matter what fill material is used.
- So even a saline implant DOES have silicone in it’s casing or shell.
- The shell of a breast implant may be SMOOTH or it might have varying grades of texturing.
- It may have micro-texturing or a different form of textured surface (sometimes called ‘velcro-like’)
- Texturing is often used in teardrop implants to help the implant adhere to surrounding tissues so that it doesn’t rotate.
- There are different risks in using different types of implants and some textures may be preferred by your Surgeon.
- Ask about this during a consultation
- The internal contents and silicone grades, or firmness and weight, may vary.
- So, too, can the implant shape (choose from round or teardrop, previously called anatomical).
Content wise, there are primarily TWO TYPES of breast-implant fill material (breast implant contents):
- Saline (salt water) encased in a silicone outer shell, and filled at the time of surgery.
- Medical-grade Silicone gel (e.g., high quality silicone gel for Mentor or Motiva brands)
Another option is fat transfer or fat grafting, but this tends to only give small increases and many procedures may be required, so it could end up costly with less volume than you’re seeking for your breast enlargement. Ask Dr Wyten about your options when you attend a no-obligation consultation – she’ll go over the PROS and CONS of different types of implants that will best suit your surgery objectives, current skin/breast tissues, and overall physique.
What’s more popular for Breast Enlargement – Saline or Silicone Breast Implants?
Saline filled implants gained a bit of popularity about two decades ago. People thought it might be a more natural approach as it used salt water, but today, most patients and surgeons prefer silicone breast implants for numerous reasons.
So these are the more popular option for Breast Augmentation at the current time, and these can provide give shapely, natural-looking breast results.
A large majority of Specialist Plastic Surgeons in Australia, and patients and Surgeons around the world, are found to predominantly prefer to use SILICONE implants because of their:
- natural look
- natural feel including during dynamic movements, impacted by:
- the size of the implant in relation to skin condition
- the breast implant placement/pocket creation
- implant insertion techniques
- strength/cohesive gels that aim to prevent leakage
- not apt to suddenly deflate like a saline implant
- easier for patients to make proper sizing choices
- projection is easier to control/predict
Even thin patients and body builders can have natural-looking breast augmentation. Read the blog here on breast augmentation for athletes and low-BMI patients.
Breast Augmentation with Saline or Silicone Implants helps women gain cleavage and greater breast volume. For some women, breast implants help balance out their lower physiques with upper body curves, especially if they have wider hips but little natural breast tissue.
Results DO vary from patient to patient, however, and all surgery has risks – these are covered in consultations and pre-surgery paperwork.
There’s also a waiting period between having a consultation and having surgery.
Pros and Cons of Silicone Gel vs Saline Filled Implants
- Silicone Implants have a lower incidence of rippling compared to saline filled implants due to the consistency of the silicone gel.
- They are designed to have a more natural feel similar to that of breast tissue, and are known to hold their shape better than saline filled implants.
- These implants tend not to deflate, but they can rupture in rare instances. Cohesive gel contents in modern implants, such as those by Motiva and Mentor, are designed NOT to migrate if there is a rupture (ruptures are, fortunately, not a frequent occurrence and many women have intact breast implants for many years and decades).
- If gel filled implants do leak or rupture, there is an increased risk of capsule contracture or hardening of the breast (see Risks to consider).
- Ask Dr Wyten about different types of Implants and what she believes will suit YOUR desires and augmentation needs the best in terms of your choices and implant preferences.
A potential problem with Saline Filled Implants – can deflate or ripple
- Saline filled implants have a ‘water bed’ like feel, and have been known to cause a ripple effect.
- If a patient has small amounts of breast tissue to begin with, rippling of the tissue can be seen through the skin.
- These problems can be reduced by using smooth surface round implants that are overfilled (still within manufacturer’s specifications), resulting in an implant that is firm to the touch. The implants may also look spherical or rounded, which is not necessarily a very natural appearance. If saline implants deflate they do so rapidly, often within a few hours, and the saline solution is easily absorbed by the body.
- Also, as with all prosthesis, there are other risks or potential issues such as capsular contracture, skin rippling or bottoming out.
- Discuss these with your Surgeon during a consultation.
Breast Implant Size: Big or Small? Decisions, decisions!
- Our implant manufacturers, including Mentor and Motiva, can supply thousands of different implant volumes in various dimensions.
- Saline filled implants can be filled after they have been inserted into the breast pocket, while silicone gel filled implants are manufactured as a whole.
- Silicone implants are the preferred option for many women and Plastic Surgeons because of their natural look and ‘feel’; as well as other benefits listed above.
You’ll have a wide variety of Breast Implant Size choices and projection options available to you.
Dr Wyten should be able to assist you to select the ideal implant shape and size just for you to attain the volume increases or breast proportions you’re seeking. Remember, however, that results can vary and that size choices should be made thoughtfully and in relation to your skin health, lifestyle, exercise preferences and overall physique.
Breast Implant Surface: Smooth or Textured?
Implants can have a smooth surface or a textured surface.
- Smooth surfaced implants feel softer than textured surfaced implants and are relatively easy to insert
- Textured implants reduce the risk of implant movement due to the rough surface allowing surrounding breast tissue to adhere to the implant
Breast Implant Shapes – Round Breast Implants or Teardrop Shaped Implants (Anatomical)
Are Round implants or Teardrop shaped breast implants better? The answer is – IT DEPENDS on numerous factors and that after surgery, you and others may not be able to tell the difference.
- The shape of implants needs to be considered as well.
- Implants can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
- They may be available in a ROUND shape or tear-drop shape.
Can you tell what type or shape of implant was used AFTER surgery – e.g. teardrop or round – by looking at the breasts of surgery patients?
In women who have a moderate amount of breast tissue, it can be difficult to tell whether an augmentation has been performed with either round or anatomically shaped implants. Even surgeon’s can’t spot the difference as good results look natural, and breasts also tend to adapt to a naturally tear drop shape over time.
- Often, you cannot tell once the implant has settled into it’s position.
- Round implants, a popular option, can leave patients with just as natural looking results as tear drop implants in many cases, so long as the right Surgical placement approach is used.
- Skin also has an impact on what your breast tissues CAN or CANNOT handle in terms of size or type.
- Droopy breast skin may require a breast lift or a combined surgery of a Breast lift/Breast Augmentation using breast implants (Breast Augmentation Mastopexy).
Anatomical implants must have a textured surface to reduce the amount of implant movement within the breast pocket. Ask your Surgeon about textural differences and preferences.
Shape of Breast Implants – Projection, Size and Dimensions – ROUND vs TEARDROP or ANATOMICAL?
Round vs Teardrop Implant Shapes
Round implants are usually available in a smooth or textured surfaces (Mentor or Motiva).
Teardrop implants HAVE more textured surfaces; ask your Surgeon about the PROS and CONS.
Remember, if a tear drop implant rotates, it might look unnatural or deformed in shape, requiring surgical correction.
- If a round implant rotates in the breast pocket, it will not tend to affect the breast shape.
- Whereas, if a tear drop or anatomical breast implant rotates within the breast pocket, it must be repositioned to restore its natural appearance.
Another factor to consider when getting Implants is where your Surgeon will place them in relation to existing breast tissues.
Breast Implant Placement Options: The Placement Pocket
There are three common approaches for Breast Implant placement.
- placing the implant in front of the pectoral muscle
- behind the pectoral muscle
- or partially behind the muscle (dual plane).
Each of these methods offer a different type of result, and Dr Wyten will be able to suggest the best-practice Breast Implant approach for your goals, depending on your skin, body composition, existing breast tissues, lifestyle and desired outcomes.
Remember, getting good results depends on a variety of aspects of your surgery. It’s important to plan the surgery carefully but also to follow pre-surgery and post-surgery instructions, not to smoke, but to eat well, rest, not exercise or do too much too early, and to understand the healing and recovery processes and time frames. These can ALL vary and all surgery has risks.
Ask Dr Wyten for more information during a no-obligation consultation, including where the implant is best placed for YOUR breasts, YOUR skin, YOUR body composition and your cleavage enhancement/breast augmentation goals.
Submuscular (Implant Placement)
- Placing the implant underneath the pectoral muscle allows the soft tissue to cover the implant and disguise it, therefore achieving a more natural result.
- More often a surgeon will recommend to place the implant behind the pectoral muscle.
- Recovery in the first couple of days is a little more uncomfortable when the implant is placed/located behind your pectoral muscle, but the results over the long term means you’ll usually get a more natural looking outcome.
- This can vary from patient to patient, however, and may depend on what you’re starting with.
Sub-glandular (Implant Placement in FRONT of the muscle)
- If there is already a good volume of breast tissue present (as determined by pinching up a fold of breast tissue) to hide the defined implant edges, your surgeon may recommend placing the implant in front of the pectoral muscle.
- This procedure often affords a more comfortable recovery period, and faster procedure time as the muscles are not disturbed during surgery.
Dual Plane Breast Augmentation placement options
- Partially behind the muscle, is another breast implant placement option you may be discussing with your Surgeon.
- Ask Dr Wyten what she recommends during a confidential consultation in Hawthorn or in Berwick.
Breast Augmentation Incisions and Scars: There are 3 types of breast Implant Incisions, but in modern times, typically only 2 will be used – and the inframammary incision approach is by far the most common.
- All incisions will leave a scar.
- But in patients who experience normal scarring and recovery, they fade over time and are usually inconspicuous when wearing clothing or when the hands/arms are at rest by the sides (versus raised overhead).
- Dr Rebecca Wyten will be able to explain the level of scarring visibility for each approach, and a recommend which approach is best for your procedure.
- Read the breast augmentation scar pages for information if scars after breast surgery are a concern.
Inframmary Incision – in the breast crease under the breast (inframmary fold or IMF)
- The most common incision site location for a breast augmentation is the crease beneath the breast (inframammary).
- This provides the most direct access to the implant pocket site and the most reliable approach for achieving a symmetrical result.
- The scar is usually quite short here, from approximately 2.5-3.5 cm (a short scar) to 4cms or more in length, sometimes longer.
- Motiva and Mentor brand implants may impact the potential length of your scar, as will existing tissues, prior surgery and insertion preferences/implant sizes.
If there are concerns about a scar in the inframammary fold or if the fold isn’t developed and the scar is likely to be visible, a periareolar approach can be used.
Periareolar Incision (around the nipple) – is simply not used as much today because of higher risks to breast functions.
- When it comes to the areola method, the incision is made around the outline of the areola.
- The goal is to make the incision in between the dark area of the areola and its surrounding skin, which helps to minimise scar visibility.
- Disadvantage of the periareolar incision are higher risks of complications such as lost nipple sensation, or being unable to breast feed (compared to other incision methods).
Many patients with breast augmentation DO successfully breast feed, but not all – there’s no guarantee.
Discuss this with Dr Wyten for more information; but if your aim is to decrease the risks of interrupting your nipple/breast functions, it may be a good idea to avoid the peri-areolar incision option.
Transaxillary Incision – “Asian Breast Augmentation”
- This type of incision is made in the armpit fold.
- It creates a channel from the armpit to the breast so the implant can be placed behind the nipple.
- The benefit of a Transaxillary Incision is its placement, making the scar virtually invisible as it rests within skin-folds in the armpit area (there WILL be a scar, however, and it may be seen especially in certain positions – it’s just less obvious in the armpit for SOME patients, especially when their arms are by their sides).
- Women with darker skin that is prone to keloid scarring, or who are wanting to have children and breastfeed after breast augmentation, may be good candidates for this incision type, but it can only be used ONCE for primary surgery (or sometimes it can be used for removal of an implant, by some Surgeons, but not for removal and replacement).
- There are some added risks to this approach – ask your Surgeon about the PROS and CONS of armpit-area incisions for breast implant placement.
- Secondary Breast Augmentation or size changes will require an inframammary fold incision.
Recommended Reading: Breast Augmentation Surgery details.
Want to know more? Consult with Dr Wyten for Further Advice.
Each patient is an individual, and each surgery is customised to fit each patient. Please contact us today for any questions or to arrange a consult with Dr Rebecca Wyten.