When choosing a breast implant either for breast reconstruction or for breast augmentation, women are faced with the choice of two different implant types. Today, doctors use saline or silicone-based implants depending on the woman’s anatomy as well as on her body type and personal preferences. Choosing the best type for the individual requires understanding the pros and cons of each and being willing to deal with the problems that are specific to the type chosen.
Understanding Types of Cosmetic Breast Implants
Saline implants are generally considered to be the safest type of implant. They are approved for use in women age 18 and up. This type of implant consists of a sterile shell, which is then filled with a sterile saline solution after it has been inserted into the breast area. The doctor will help determine the exact shape and size of the shell that is needed. As with all implants, saline implants do have the possibility of rupture. Should they rupture, the shell will need to be removed, and a new implant may be put in its place. However, rupture of these implants is considered to be safe because the body will easily absorb the saline solution with no untoward effects.
The reason why many women prefer silicone gel implants is that they feel more like natural breast fat than saline implants do. These implants are prefilled with a silicone gel, and the chosen shape and size are inserted into the woman’s breast area. They are approved for women who are at least 22 years old. For a number of years in the 1990’s and 2000’s, these implants were taken off the market by the FDA due to safety concerns. However, since 2006, some types of silicone implants have been put back on the market. Silicone implants may also burst. In fact, women are required to have an MRI of the area three years after they are inserted and every two years after that. Some ruptures may be called silent because the leaked silicone gel is contained in a fibrous shell in the breast tissue. However, silicone gel can be dangerous if it leaks and may cause breast pain, which may cause some women to opt for the saline option.