I have a million questions: Life span of silicone or saline, removal of implant easier with saline?

Saline cheaper? Breast cancer on both sides of family will that be an issue? Rupture chances for both saline or silicone Recovery? How would that work out of country? What's cohesive gel? High profile saline better? Rippling? Happen to shine or silicone? Does it only happen when there a leak? What are the chances of rippling?

Doctor Answers 4

I have a million questions: Life span of silicone or saline, removal of implant easier with saline?

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I would suggest an appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon to address your concerns.  In short, breast implants are considered safe.  Saline implant are cheaper but have a slightly higher rupture rate.  

Castle Rock Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

A Million Questions?

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Saline implants are usually less expensive than gels. Neither implant type has been demonstrated to increase the risk of breast cancer. Monitoring for breast cancer can occur with implants in place, although I recommend sub-muscular positioning. All implants can rupture if left in place long enough due to the normal 'wear-and-tear' of being within the body over time. Recovery time can vary depending upon implant size, placement, and other factors. Cohesive gels are thicker than earlier implant gels, and therefore less prone to migration following implant rupture. High profile implants are designed to give greater projection, sometimes at the expense of a less natural look. implant rippling can occur due to several factors including inadequate soft tissue coverage, capsular contracture, or implant volume loss.  In a complete consultation your local plastic surgeon can add to this list of answers, and give you the information you'll require to make an informed decision about breast augmentation.

Michael F. Bohley, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 20 reviews


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Saline are usually cheaper.  Monitoring for cancer with mammogram can be performed with either implant type.  Rupture rate is similar although a bit lower with silicone in some studies.  Rippling can occur with both.  More information can be obtained during consultation ...best of luck!

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

I have a million questions about breast augmentation...

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Wow! You are asking excellent questions, the answers to which are best delivered during in-person evaluation with board-certified plastic surgeons who can demonstrate significant experience achieving the types of outcomes you will be pleased with. Some general thoughts may be helpful to you.

My best suggestion for patients considering breast augmentation: 
1. Do your due diligence carefully in selecting your plastic surgeon. 
2. Communicate your goals equally as carefully ( I prefer the use of goal pictures, in bra sizers, and the use of computer imaging). 
3. Allow your plastic surgeon to guide you when it comes to the breast implant type/size/profile that will best achieve your goals.

 In regards to the saline versus silicone gel breast implant question: the type of implant used may determine the final outcome, especially if the patient does not have significant covering breast or adipose tissue. For example, some surgeons feel that silicone implants have a more natural look and feel than saline implants because silicone gel has a texture that is similar to breast tissue. 

Each patient differs in the amount of breast tissue that they have. If a patient has enough breast tissue to cover the implant, the final result will be similar when comparing saline implants versus silicone gel implants. If a patient has very low body fat and/or very little breast tissue, the silicone gel implants may provide a more "natural" result.

On the other hand, saline implants have some advantages over silicone implants. Silicone implant ruptures are harder to detect. When saline implants rupture, they deflate and the results are seen almost immediately. When silicone implants rupture, the breast often looks and feels the same because the silicone gel may leak into surrounding areas of the breast without a visible difference. Patients may need an MRI to diagnose a silicone gel rupture. Saline implants are also less expensive than the silicone gel implants.

In my practice, I individualize the type of breast implant utilized based on many factors, including the patient's starting anatomy, the potential for weight gain/loss after surgery, patient concerns regarding each type of breast implant, and (probably most importantly) the patient's goals.

Generally speaking, there is no time limit as to when or if you need to exchange your breast implants. I have heard from patients that they have heard that breast implants need to be changed every 10 years. The only reason you need to exchange your breast implants is if you are having a problem with them or if you would like to change the size. Some of the potential complications that may arise would be deflation, capsular contracture, bottoming out, or just size change. If you are happy with the size of your breast implants and are having no problems, you do not need to do anything.

Palpability and rippling of breast implants may be related to several factors. These include the amount of soft tissue and breast tissue coverage over the breast implants, the position of the breast implants (submuscular versus sub glandular), the type of implants (saline versus silicone), and the degree of overfilling of saline filled implants. Generally, weight loss will extension weight any rippling/palpability of the implants. Deflation of the implants will also increase the rippling/palpability of the implants.

Correction of the rippling may involve further surgery including implant pocket exchange if possible (sub glandular to submuscular), implant exchange if possible (saline to silicone), and/or the use of allograft to provide an additional layer of tissue between the implant and the patient's skin.  
 Again, more specific advice (relevant to your personal situation) would require in-person consultation. Otherwise, you will find a lot of information on this website and on the attached link as well.  Best wishes.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.