Both saline and silicone breast implants have been used for many years for breast augmentation. Deciding which type of breast implants to choose can be confusing. Before choosing a type of breast implant, it is important to study available information. The best place to get this information is an in-person consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon. Another good resource is online information on the website of a qualified plastic surgeon. It is always helpful to study the pertinent information before a personal consultation. Plastics surgeons have printed material for patients to read and encourage patients to ask questions at the consultation. Any specific questions related to the choice of saline or silicone breast implants can be answered at the time of the consultation. The qualified plastic surgeon can also recommend an implant type at the time of the consultation based on the patient’s specific situation.

Because there are so many factors to consider when choosing a breast implant type, and those factors are different for each patient, consultation with an expert is very important. There is no one type of implant type that is best for every patient. Saline implants may be the best choice for some patients, while silicone may be a better choice for other patients. There are pros and cons to each type of breast implant, and these pros and cons should be well-known to the patient before choosing an implant type.

Both types of breast implants are thought to be safe, which is the most important factor with any medical device. Both types of breast implants give a good result based on both patient satisfaction (the most important benchmark) and surgeon evaluation. It takes many years and many patients. There are many patients that have chosen saline breast implants and still have the same implants for well over twenty years. There are also many patients that have chosen silicone breast implants and have had satisfactory results for many years. Because the latest generation of silicone breast implants is relatively new (as compared to saline breast implants), the observation period is somewhat less than for saline breast implants. Both saline and silicone breast implants are medical devices, and like any medical device, they are not perfect.

Some of the factors to consider in choosing a breast implant type includes overall cost, need for MRI after surgery (silicone breast implants), desired “feel” of the implants, need for implant adjustability (important when a goal is to improve breast symmetry), planned position of the breast implants (above, partially below the muscle, or completely below the muscle), concerns about implant wrinkling, and considerations related to pocket access. Another important factor is the volume and condition of the native breast tissue. The volume and condition of the native breast tissue varies widely from patient to patient, and as a result the recommendations vary widely from patient to patient. Because breast augmentation is an elective procedure (can be done at any time) the decision to choose saline or silicone breast implants can be made at the patient’s leisure. The role of the qualified plastic surgeon is to provide information and guidance. The decision to choose saline or silicone breast implants is the sole decision of the patient.

For more information check out Dr. Herring’s website dedicated exclusively to plastic surgery procedures of the breast.