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Breast Implant Questions: 3 Most Common Patient Concerns

By: Austin-Weston


Breast augmentation has long been one of the most popular and frequently performed types of cosmetic surgeries in the United States. Many women looking to achieve a better-proportioned appearance, reclaim their previous look after childbirth, or gain more overall confidence, find breast implants to be a wonderful option.

Regardless of their specific reasons, breast augmentation has a long track record of satisfying women’s desires to enhance, regain, and restore balance to their figures. But, of course, each individual woman is unique. What matters is whether the procedure is right for you.

Answering three of the most common questions surgeons receive during patient consultations may bring you one step closer to making this important decision. Continue reading to dive in.

1. Which type of implant is better, silicone or saline?

This is the most frequently asked question we get from women who are considering breast augmentation. Although each type has advantages and disadvantages, we have seen patients experience incredible results with both silicone and saline. We always recommend that patients carefully consider the pros and cons for themselves.

What You Need to Know

  • Both saline and silicone implants have silicone shells, so the main difference between them is the fill.
  • For saline implants, the surgeon makes a small incision, inserts the empty shell, and then fills the shell with sterile salt water to the desired fill volume.
  • Silicone implants arrive in the surgeon’s office prefilled with surgical-grade silicone gel from the manufacturer. So, a slightly larger incision is required. The difference between incision sizes for silicone versus saline implants is less than 1 inch.
  • There is a difference in feel between the two types of implants as well. Silicone implants are softer than saline, and the conventional thinking is that silicone implants more closely mimic natural breast tissue in terms of feel.
  • Most saline implants cost around $1,000 less than silicone implants. We always encourage patients to decide according to what they think will make them happy rather than cost.
  • The rupture rate of silicone and saline implants is the same, but the way that looks clinically is different. When a saline implant ruptures, the breast size decreases rapidly over a short period of time because the body can absorb saline. If a silicone implant ruptures, there may be associated pain or a change in breast shape, but no noticeable difference in size because the body does not absorb silicone. In either instance, another surgery is required to remove the ruptured implant and replace it with a new one.
  • Saline implants are more prone to rippling. Because of the way saline fills the outer shell, there is a higher risk of being able to see the implant ‘ripples’ along the lower portion of the breast. This is decreased in patients who have more natural breast tissue to hide the implant and in patients who choose to have their implant placed under the muscle.

Ultimately, the type of breast implant best for you depends on your personal preferences and desired outcome. So doing your research beforehand is critical. If you are fortunate enough to know someone who has had breast augmentation surgery and is willing to share, ask them the following question: what is one thing that you wish you had known before having breast augmentation surgery?

2. Will breast implants look natural?

Many who come in for a consult also express concern about whether their implants will look natural. Often, this worry stems from seeing Hollywood celebrities or Sports Illustrated swimsuit models with over-filled implants placed above the muscle. While it may seem strange to many women today, back in the 1990’s, some celebrities and models actually favored this more rounded, plump and “fake” look.

This look has mostly fallen out of favor, especially among women living in the DC Metro area. But it is important to realize that our plastic surgeons are not here to impose any opinion about how you should look. They are here to educate and provide you with the information you need to make the decision that that is best for you right here, right now.

So if you are looking for a more natural shape and profile, fear not! Whenever possible, our highly skilled surgeons place implants under the muscle, which makes the implant less visible; for a helpful diagram, see this article. This approach also means less rippling and creates a more natural look.

3. Are implants safe?

Scientists have been studying breast implant safety for decades and research has found no association between breast implants and disease. Contrary to what you may have heard, there is NO difference in safety between saline and silicone breast implants. Both have been found to be safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and there are more approved implant types on the market now than ever.

Exploring answers to these questions is a good place to start on your breast augmentation journey. Looking for more information?

If you live in the Northern Virginia or Washington DC area and are ready to reclaim your confidence, contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation at (703) 893-6168 or  submit a form online to request an appointment.

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