Are you considering a breast augmentation? With several different types of breast implants to choose from, you may be wondering which type is best. Experienced board-certified plastic surgeons tell us what you need to know about breast implants before picking one.
Breast Implant Options: Saline, Silicone Gel, Structured
All breast implants are created by filling a solid silicone shell with either saline or silicone gel. The breast implant you choose will determine your aesthetic outcome, as well as how much long-term maintenance you will need. Additionally, saline and silicone gel breast implants offer textured surface options. It is important to note however, texture surface implants may cause long-term complications and many surgeons do not offer them anymore. Most surgeons offer a variety of saline and silicone gel breast implants, but only exclusive board-certified plastic surgeons offer IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implants. Finding a plastic surgeon who provides every option will help you get the best results possible.
Saline Breast Implants
Saline breast implants are FDA approved for women 18 and over. Dr. Paul Zwiebel, board-certified plastic surgeon in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, explains the benefits of saline breast implants, “One of the classic advantages of saline implants and why women have selected them in the past is that saline implants are filled with salt water, a natural occurring substance in the body. So if the saline implant were to leak, that salt water is absorbed and doesn’t harm the woman. Many women find that very comforting from the standpoint of a margin of safety.”
One other benefit of saline breast implants is instant rupture detection. Because saline is a liquid similar in density to water, the implant will deflate when a rupture occurs. There is no need for an MRI to detect a rupture, giving women extra peace of mind.
However, one major drawback of saline breast implants is the look and feel. Many women and surgeons say they feel unnatural and show visible rippling under the skin. Dr. Constance Barone, board-certified plastic surgeon in San Antonio, Texas, explains, “one of the things I hated, and most women hated, about saline was the unnatural feel of the saline implants. They felt like balloons underneath the chest wall.” For this reason many women turn to other types of breast implants.
Silicone Gel Breast Implants
Silicone gel breast implants are FDA approved for women 22 and older. They are filled with silicone gel, which is a much denser substance than saline. Dr. Matthew Galumbeck, board-certified plastic surgeon in Virginia Beach, Virginia, tells us “In 2007, the silicone gel implants came out and the advantage is that because it’s more cohesive, it has a more natural look, more natural feel.” Women enjoy the look and feel of silicone gel, and the fact that they are less likely to ripple.
Silicone gel breast implants also come in round and teardrop shapes. Round breast implants provide more fullness and projection, similar to the look of a push-up bra. Teardrop breast implants give women a more subtle profile. The disadvantage of shaped implants is they may turn inside the breast pocket and require surgery to correct. Saline and structured breast implants are only available as round implants.
Though women love the natural look of this breast implant option, silicone gel comes with certain drawbacks. Again, Dr. Galumbeck explains, “The disadvantage is that if it leaks, the silicone gel stays in the breast tissue and so you can’t tell that its leaked with a ‘silent rupture.’ The FDA actually recommends that women get MRIs every two years to look for leakage.” The possibility of a silent rupture means women must deal with the hassle and cost of repeated MRIs, or the anxiety of not knowing if their implant is intact.
Additionally, surgery to remove a leaked silicone gel breast implant can be difficult. Dr. Eric Desman, board-certified plastic surgeon in Alexandria, Virginia tells us, “if you have silicone gel implants and you detect a rupture early enough, a lot of times we’re able to remove the implant as well as the scar tissue that surrounds the implant as one unit. But frequently that leak in the silicone gel implant is not detected quickly and the silicone starts to leak through that scar tissue. A patient will then need a challenging, complicated surgery to get that old implant out and then put a new implant in. If the patient puts new silicone gel implants back in, then they’re just restarting the clock on the next problem or process with a leaked silicone gel implant.”
Structured Breast Implants
The IDEAL IMPLANT Structured Breast Implant is the newest type of breast implant to be FDA approved, and is available for women 18 and older. Dr. Galumbeck describes the IDEAL IMPLANT telling us, “the third implant that’s been approved since 2014 is the IDEAL IMPLANT. The nice thing about this is it’s an all saline implant, but it’s structured so that it’s an implant surrounding an implant. And because of the structure it looks and feels like the silicone gel implant. It has a very natural look, very natural feel, doesn’t ripple, but it also has the advantage that if it leaks, because it’s saline, the salt water is absorbed by the body.”
IDEAL IMPLANT Structured Breast Implants were created by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Robert S. Hamas. After spending years listening to patient concerns about the compromises of saline and silicone gel, Dr. Hamas decided to develop a new breast implant option. With IDEAL IMPLANT Dr. Hamas combined what women love about saline and silicone gel. The internal structure of IDEAL IMPLANT Structured Breast Implants give it stability, meaning it moves and feels like natural breast tissue. Many surgeons and patients have noted that they cannot tell the difference between a silicone gel implant and the IDEAL IMPLANT in blind tests. As Dr. Galumbeck explained above, the implant is filled with saline. Ruptures can be detected instantly, there is no need for repeated MRIs, and the saline is naturally absorbed by the body.
IDEAL IMPLANT Structured Breast Implants have one of the lowest rates of complications among breast implants. According to FDA Core clinical trial data, the IDEAL IMPLANT has a rupture rate of only 2.1% at eight years after a primary breast augmentation. Silicone gel breast implants have rupture rates as high as 13.6% at eight years after a primary breast augmentation. To compare more statistics and facts between IDEAL IMPLANT Structured Breast Implants and silicone gel breast implants visit idealimplant.com/compare.
We asked plastic surgeons why they choose to offer IDEAL IMPLANT Structured Breast Implants alongside other types of breast implants for breast augmentation. Dr. Desman explains, “the IDEAL IMPLANT has a great feel to the touch after surgery and gives women a very natural look. Combine that with the lower capsular contracture rates and lower rupture rates that come along with IDEAL IMPLANT and these are all things that really make it a nice device to work with.” Dr. Larry Nichter, board-certified plastic surgeon in Newport Beach, California, states, “It’s incredibly safe and so there’s far fewer lifetime surgeries with an IDEAL IMPLANT Structured Breast Implant, compared to traditional silicone-gel implants.”
Visit Your Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon To Learn More
Every woman is different, which is why it is important to have access to a wide variety of breast implant options before your breast augmentation. An experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon will review all your options, present up-to-date data, and help you make the best choice for your body. To find a board-certified plastic surgeon near you, visit https://idealimplant.com/find-a-surgeon/.