No matter the reason a woman is considering breast augmentation or breast implants, there are facts she should know before having surgery. What is the difference between silicone implants versus saline implants? What happens if there is a leak? What is the recovery time? Is scarring an issue? We will explain the overall picture and provide you with simple information that may help you with your choice.
Both types of implants have a silicone shell. It is the way the breast implants are inserted and filled that can be of concern.
Saline Filled Breast Implants
These implants are inserted into the body empty. Once they are in place, they are filled with sterile salt water solution.
What could happen?
Scarring sometimes occurs after a breast augmentation surgery. This can change the shape and feel of the breast. Sometimes the nipple becomes oddly shaped, and there can be a loss of sensation in the nipple. This is usually temporary. In some cases, there can be breast pain and/or infection. Your doctor will address these issues, and they are usually treatable.
What if there is a leak or rupture in a saline filled breast implant?
If there is a leak or rupture in an implant that is filled with saline, the breast will empty and go flat. The body will absorb the saline solution with no harm to the patient. You will need another breast surgery to remove the damaged implant and/or to replace it.
Silicone Filled Breast Implants
Silicone is a gel that is thick and sticky. It mimics the feel of human fat, and many women say that it feels more like the natural breast.
What could happen?
Just like with a saline filled implant, scarring sometimes occurs. This can change the shape and feel of the breast. Sometimes the nipple becomes misshapen, and there is a loss of sensation in the nipple. This is usually temporary. In some cases, there can be breast pain and/or infection. Your doctor will address these issues, and they are usually treatable.
What if there is a leak or rupture in a silicone filled breast implant?
When a silicone breast implant leaks, it is often called a silent rupture. The thick gel is often trapped in the fibrous tissue that is around the implant. Because of that, you may not even notice the leak.
The leaking silicone gel is not thought to cause any long-term health issues. It does not cause cancer or tissue disease. However, over time the shape of the breast may change. You could experience pain or discomfort after your recovery. Your doctor may need to remove the implant, and you will decide if you want to replace it. Your doctor can give you options if issues arise after your initial surgery.
Sometimes a leak in a silicone breast implant is discovered through an MRI. If this is found and the leak is not giving you any additional problems or causing you discomfort, the doctor will leave it up to you if you want to leave the implants in or remove them.