Structured Saline vs. Silicone Implants: Cost Isn’t the Only Concern

For years, breast augmentation patients have chosen between the natural look and feel of silicone gel implants and the simplicity of saline implants. Many women felt torn having to compromise on either beauty or security. Now, women’s options have evolved. If you’re in the market for breast implants, you have newer technology from which to choose: namely, structured saline implants and cohesive silicone implants. Cost is one factor to think about when making your decision, but there are several other key considerations as well.   

Cohesive Silicone Gel Breast Implants 

Silicone implants have long won the popularity contest among breast augmentation patients because of their natural look and feel. However, there have been questions surrounding the safety of silicone gel and its effects on the body. The gel in today’s silicone implants is more cohesive than in previous years, meaning it’s less likely to end up oozing into your tissues out of a ruptured device. Plastic surgeons often point this out to women who are wary of putting silicone gel into their bodies. However, doctors admit that a rupture still brings the gel into contact with women’s tissues. 

Any woman with silicone gel implants could have leakage and not know it. There are no signs or symptoms of implant rupture. This is why the FDA continues to recommend that women with silicone gel implants get regular MRIs to detect leakage, and that any ruptured implant be removed. This is one of the reasons silicone implants cost more over the years. They also require a larger scar, because they are filled before surgical insertion.

Structured Saline Breast Implants

While silicone gel implant technology has advanced, major advancements have also been made in the world of saline-filled implants. Unstructured saline implants are not a viable option for many women, because they don’t produce a realistic feel. Today, women have access to the uniquely designed, saline-filled IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implants. This structured saline breast implant is the perfect choice for women who want beautiful results and peace of mind.  

Making Your Concerns Heard

Most of the time, your plastic surgeon is the best source of information on the benefits and drawbacks of the different types of breast implants. However, some women feel their concerns about silicone gel implants and silent rupture are being dismissed by their doctors. Some plastic surgeons are incentivized by silicone gel implant companies. Not only does this cause hesitancy about adopting new technology, but it may also add bias to what should be strictly professional advice. The IDEAL IMPLANT is the latest in breast implant technology, so doctors who fail to keep up with modern advancements may still picture the outdated and unstructured “water balloon” saline device when patients ask about it. 

Many plastic surgeons disregard saline-filled implants altogether, because of silicone gel incentive programs, reluctance to apply new technology, or lack of understanding. Do not let your surgeon write off your concerns, as well. If you feel your interests are not the number one priority, find a doctor who does put you first. There is no reason to stick with someone who waves your concerns when your body, your health, and your happiness are at stake. 

It is possible that silicone implants cost doctors less in the long run than structured saline. Because a silicone gel leak often goes unnoticed, patients do not go back to their surgeons with a problem that needs to be fixed. A deflated saline implant sends a woman straight to her doctor’s office. So, if silicone implant patients are seemingly happy, why should doctors want to change their approach? 

If more plastic surgeons cared more about women’s health and well-being than their personal online reviews, they would.  

Do Silicone Implants Cost More?

When discussing implant types with your doctor, it is helpful to have an understanding of current research. The Ten Year FDA Core Clinical Trial Data show that IDEAL IMPLANT significantly outperforms silicone gel implants in primary breast augmentation. IDEAL IMPLANT had just a 3.7 percent cumulative risk of implant rupture or deflation, whereas  silicone gel implants had numbers as high as 9.3 percent (Allergan Gel) and 24.2 percent (Mentor Gel). The risk for capsular contracture is also much lower with IDEAL IMPLANT. In short, it is very likely that silicone implants cost more in the long run than structured saline.   

From 1992-2006, the FDA removed silicone gel implants from the market entirely due to safety concerns. During that time, only traditional saline implants were available. Times have changed, and now women have access to a structured saline implant that offers the same aesthetic result as silicone gel, without the risk of silent rupture. 

What Women Want

Now more than ever, women are speaking out about the health impacts of breast implants. Silent rupture is a real problem that raises concerns for thousands of women. Through a survey of 933 participants, a third-party firm found that women overwhelmingly prefer to know and be in control of what is going on in their bodies. 

  • 98% said they would be concerned about silicone gel implant silent rupture 
  • 95% said they would want a ruptured silicone implant removed, even with no symptoms, and
  • 89% reported feeling “less likely to choose silicone gel” upon learning of the FDA MRI recommendations

Dr. Vivian Ting, a California plastic surgeon, recently presented these and other similar findings to attendees at the Aesthetica Super Symposium of ASPS in Las Vegas. She says:

“Surgeons must be aware of these survey findings to ensure women’s rupture concerns are taken into consideration. Women have a right to have their concerns taken seriously about what is in their bodies, be educated about all of their implant choices including structured saline implants like the IDEAL IMPLANT, and not simply have their concerns dismissed.”

No More Compromise 

IDEAL IMPLANT enables women to achieve a beautiful, realistic look and feel with the peace of mind of having saline inside them. Dr. Larry Nichter, an IDEAL IMPLANT Premier Surgeon, offers the structured saline implants as an option for women who want natural beauty without compromise. He explains the shift he has seen in breast implant technology: 

“We moved toward silicone gel implants after 2006 because they offered a better cosmetic result over the original, unstructured saline implants. Now we have the Structured Implant technology that offers the similar natural look without MRIs or silent rupture, and the safety of only saline inside.”

2021 Breast Implant Choices

With modern advancements in breast implant science, women no longer have to choose between natural results or peace of mind. Breast augmentation patients can select either structured saline implants or cohesive silicone implants. Cost is just one factor to consider. It’s a personal decision and there’s no right or wrong choice, but it should be completely up to you. Decide what your priorities are, arm yourself with the latest information, and see multiple plastic surgeons so you can find one who will not dismiss your concerns.