Advantages and Disadvantages of Silicone Breast Implants
The main advantage of silicone breast implants over saline is that silicone feels more like real breast tissue. Silicone gel is a very unique substance in that it is semisolid, kind of like toothpaste, but it feels different. It has the ability to be somewhat squishy and change shape, but at the same time, it is also rather firm and go back to its original shape. This makes it the ideal substance to mimic the feeling of real breast tissue. Most women want to be as natural looking and feeling as possible, so this is why silicone breast implants are a more popular choice over their saline counter-parts. Saline implants are just filled with salt water, and feel somewhat like water balloon—somewhat close to real breast tissue, but not as similar as a silicone implant.
Another advantage of silicone implants over saline is that they are less likely to ripple. To get an picture in your mind of what this “saline implant ripple effect” looks like, imagine if you had a bowl of hot soup in front you and blew on it, creating ripples in the water. Since saline implants are just salt water, they behave the same way that water in your soup bowl would. This means when you move around, the implant may tend to ripple. The ripple effect of saline implants is most noticeable on women who had very little breast tissue to begin with. With silicone, however, the risk of having the ripple effect is greatly reduced, especially if the implant is placed beneath the muscle tissue, or you already have a decent amount of natural breast tissue to start with.
Disadvantages of Silicone Breast Implants
There are a few disadvantages of silicone implants. The first is that they are more expensive (about $1,000 more), because the silicone gel is more expensive than saline. They can also be somewhat more difficult to work with. If your doctor measures incorrectly and one implant is bigger than the other, a whole new implant will be needed, where as with saline, he can simply drain out or add more fluid as needed. Also, for this reason, slightly bigger incisions must be made to accommodate silicone implants, which must be inserted at their pre-filled size, while saline implants can be inserted at a smaller, deflated size and then filled once inserted.
However, the biggest disadvantage with silicone breast implants is that if it ruptures, it may not be immediately noticeable. Breast implants are extremely resilient but there is always the risk that they might rupture. If they do, the fluid will drain out extremely slowly, and it can take a very long time before you notice. There is absolutely no evidence that the silicone gel causes any long term bodily harm such as breast cancer or any other illnesses, but it might eventually cause breast pain and change the size and shape of the breast. If the implant ruptures, you will need to go in to have it replaced or taken out immediately. With saline implants, on the other hand, the rupture is no cause for concern. They are composed of salt water, which is what 70% of your body is made of anyway. Plus, the rupture with saline implants will be noticeable immediately as all the water will drain out the implant very quickly.