Saline Versus Silicone Breast Implants

Breast implants have come a long ways since the 1970s. Today, we have a variety of implants to augment the breast. The majority of the breast prosthesis have been rigorously tested and are safe for use in humans.

Silicone Implants

There are three basic modifications of the silicone gel-filled implants. These include:

- A single chamber device that is already filled with a fixed volume of silicone gel. These older versions of silicone implants are not the first choice for women, as their size can not be manipulated afterwards.

- Double lumen inflatable implant. This device contains an inner lumen pre-filled with silicone-gel and the outer lumen has a valve through which saline can be placed during operation. This second generaton implant is widely used and can be used to adjust the volume of the implant

- Double lumen inflatable implant, with the outer lumen pre-filled with silicone-gel and the inner lumen has a valve that allows saline filling during operation. With this device, injections can also be performed after surgery to gradually increase the size of the breast.

Silicone implants are ideal as the texture is soft and the consistency of the gel is smooth and feels like a normal breast. The silicone gels gives a natural shape to the breast with tight contours.

The latest generation of devices have been modified so that even if a small leak occurs, it will not spill out. The cohesive gels immediately seals the device and limits the leaks. These latest implants significantly lower risk of hardening, infection and pain that occurs when the implants rupture.

Saline Implants

Just like the silicone implants, there are three basic types of saline-filled implants. These are:

- Single lumen implant with a valve. The implant is filled during surgery.

- Single lumen adjustable implant, filled during the surgery and the volume can be adjusted after the surgery.

- Pre-filled saline implant in which the volume can not be adjusted.

Saline implants come in either a round or may resemble the shape of the breast. The implants which look like a breast give a natural shape and contour. The round implants make the breast balloon out and are obvious to most outsiders

The choice of implant will be discussed between you and your physician. Many factors go into the selection of the best implant for each individual, but in the end it is the surgeon's experience which is vital to success and a good result.

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