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Silicone vs Saline Breast Implants

Both saline and silicone implants are FDA approved for cosmetic breast augmentation in the United States. Clinical trials demonstrate similar infection, failure and re-operation rates. Neither type of implant causes breast cancer. Despite lawsuits, and internet horror stories, medical studies do not link silicone implants to autoimmune disease like lupus, scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis.

Saline vs. Silicone Implants

The major difference between saline and silicone implants is how the implants look and feel. In general silicone implants are softer, lighter and will feel more "natural." Saline implants are firmer, rounder and gives a more augmented or fake look. These can be positives or negatives depending upon your goals. The main downside to saline is increased scalloping and rippling, meaning a higher likelihood of seeing (visibility) or feeling (palpability) the implant in thin patients. The only two things that control implant visibility and palpability are the device itself and the amount, and quality, of tissue above the implant hiding it. Therefore, the type of implant selected plays a large role in your result in terms of both look and feel. The vast majority of my patients select silicone implants.

Interestingly, when we refer to silicone or saline, we are talking about the inner fill material. Both saline and silicone implants have the same silicone shell, so the body is exposed to the exact same material for the majority of woman who never experience a failure. Only if the shell was to fail would the breast pocket and capsule be exposed to the fill material. Saline is absorbed and urinated out, silicone gel remains inert, and except in extraordinary cases, stays within the breast pocket.

One factor that should not be considered when considering the difference between saline and silicone breast implants is price. A few hundred dollars is a small difference upfront, for a device you may have for decades. Additionally, both implants carry a lifetime warranty against device failure, but the silicone implant includes a 10-year warranty to help pay some of the surgery fees (up to $3500) should the device fail. To put it simply, both have a lifetime “parts” warranty and silicone includes a 10 year “labor” warranty while that “labor” portion of the warranty is an additional $200 for saline, thereby negating most of the price savings.


THE ALLERGAN RECALL OF BIOCELL TEXTURED IMPLANTS AND TISSUE EXPANDERS

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This July Allergan announced that it was recalling BIOCELL® Textured Breast Implants and Tissue Expanders. With the recent coverage of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) in the news, some of our patients are searching for more information about the safety of breast implants. Learn more about the Allergan recall, Bancroft Feldman's policy on using textured implants, and what our patients' options are.

KH, Houston, TX

"I just wanted to check in with yall hope everything's great & wanted to thank Dr. Feldman again, my boobs are awesome. I wore a swim suit for the first time this weekend and I've had 6 girls asking who did them because they turned out so fantastic!!"

MH, Wharton, TX

"I just wanted to tell all of you thank you again.  And by the way I have the best looking boobs ever.  Beyond thrilled!"

KL, Humble, TX

"Everyone was so welcoming and confidient in Dr. Feldman’s work. The staff was also very helpful and prompt with any questions I had. The office and OR looked very professional and classy, very modern. The price was great but Dr Feldman and his staff sealed the deal. This was my first and last breast augmentation consultation."