Silicone vs Saline vs Cohesive Silicone Gel Breast Implants

If you are interested in breast implants and breast augmentation surgery, you’ve surely wondered which breast implant types to go for.

In the following post, we look at the three main types of breast implants; saline breast implants, silicone breast implants and cohesive silicone gel implants. Covering everything you need to know to make an informed decision about whether silicone vs saline breast implants is best for you.

If you would like a consultation with a surgeon to help you decide, Contact Us Today

Saline Breast Implants

Both saline implants and silicone implants were first introduced in the US during the 60s. It was only by the 80s that they became popular.

choosing silicone vs saline breast implants

What are Saline Breast Implants

The saline breast implant consists of an outer shell which is made from silicone, but unlike silicone breast implants, the shell is inserted into the body empty.

It is only afterwards that it is filled with sterile salt water. This means that the incision site is much smaller and inconspicuous.

Due to their design and the surgery involved, they are also less expensive than silicone options.

Benefits of Saline Breast Implants

  • Less expensive than silicone implants
  • Safer filling – the saline inside the breast implant is safer if a rupture occurs. When a rupture occurs, saline is absorbed naturally and does not cause negative effects.
  • Detection of ruptures or leaks in saline implants is easier
  • Multiple options for incision sites
  • Smaller incisions mean smaller and less noticeable scarring
  • Saline breast implants are available for women aged 18 years and over if they are looking for breast augmentation and any age if it’s for breast reconstruction surgery.
  • Some implants can be adjusted postoperatively using a remote inject port, to fine-tune the volume of the implants to get the look and feel just right
  • “Baffled” saline implants can counter the issue of sloshing and rippling, as the water is dispersed into different chambers, it moves less quickly.

Negatives of Saline Breast Implants

  • Less natural surface texture, because saline is not a gel but liquid, saline implants do not tend to have the same level of firmness
  • Look less natural, for similar reasons to the above, saline is not as firm and the implants are often more rounded than silicone, which can mean they look less authentic.
  • Chance of rippling. Rippling is the name given to the effect of the breast implants sides being visible through your skin. It can create a rippling effect at some angles and is a noticeable sign of breast augmentation surgery
  • Greater chance of sloshing occurring, that is the water moving around, which can be heard and often felt by the owner
  • Risk of leaking, which is not as serious a problem as it is with silicone, but still something worth considering
  • Saline implants can develop bacteria, yeast and mould growth.
  • If the seal around the implant starts to deteriorate or gets damaged, any bacteria, yeast or mould that has been growing inside the implant can seep out into the body and spread.
  • Mould and bacteria in saline breasts can cause various health risks such as chronic infections and can cause problems for the muscles in your chest and with them, respiratory issues.
  • Risk of saline implants causing a very rare immune system cancer known as BIA-ALCL. It is thought that textured implants are the ones most likely to cause this condition.

Silicone Breast Implants

The very first silicone breast implants were created by Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow and the first patient to receive them was Timmie Jean Lindsey in 1963.

silicone vs saline vs gel implants woman holding in hand

What are Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone breast implants, in contrast to saline implants, are silicone shells that are filled with gel (also made from silicone) before they are inserted.

Silicone gel is a sticky, thick fluid that is used because it feels very similar to human fat. It is generally considered that silicone breast implants are more natural in appearance, texture and to touch.

Benefits of Silicone Breast Implants

  • Look and feel better
  • Multiple options with regards to the style of implants and shaping
  • Less chance of unattractive rippling effect that is a problem with saline implants

Negatives of Silicone Breast Implants

  • Limited options when it comes to where incisions can be made
  • Larger incisions are required
  • Larger incisions mean larger and more noticeable scarring
  • Ruptures are harder to detect, and often can only be discovered with MRI scanning
  • Silicone breasts are only available for women older than 22 years old
  • Risk of silicone implants causing a very rare immune system cancer known as BIA-ALCL. It is thought that textured implants are the ones most likely to cause this condition.
  • Risk of leaking, which won’t cause any serious health conditions, but could lead to changes in breast shape or contour, breast thickening, and breast pain
  • When silicone implants rupture, if the rupture is undetected, the silicone can move to different parts of the body and is not only virtually impossible to detect, but also impossible to remove.
  • Risks of silent ruptures, which can often go unnoticed because loose silicone in the body remains trapped inside the capsule (fibrous tissue) that the body creates around the implant.

Cohesive Gel Implants

woman choosing between silicone and saline implant types

Cohesive gel implants have become all the rage for plastic surgeons and their patients alike.

Referred to by some as “gummy bear” implants, these revolutionary breast implants have changed the face of breast surgery, by offering a more natural look and feel to the breast augmentation process.

If you are considering breast augmentation, check out this information on the latest trend in breast implants to find out if the cohesive gel implant is the right choice for you.

What Are Cohesive Silicone Gel Implants?

Cohesive gel is a type of silicone implant that differs considerably from silicone implants of previous decades.

Older silicone implants contain a liquefied form of silicone that can leak out if the implant is broken or ruptured.

The silicone inside cohesive gel implants is a more solid, jelly-like material that retains its shape even if it is cut in two.

Cohesive gel implants are also unique in terms of their shape, which is designed to more closely resemble the natural contours of the breast.

While other implants offer a round shape, cohesive gel implants are teardrop-shaped, so there is more weight and fullness in the lower half of the breast.

The implants still offer a variety of sizes and projections, to accommodate nearly any woman’s unique body contours.

Benefits Of Cohesive Gel Implants

There are a number of reasons why cohesive gel implants are the preferred choice for many surgeons and breast augmentation patients today:

  • No risk of leakage, like there is with saline and older silicone implants
  • Implants tend to hold their shape better than other types of implants
  • Lower risk of visible breast rippling or capsular contracture
  • Many women believe these implants look and feel more like natural breast tissue
  • May last longer than other types of implants

Negatives of Cohesive Gel Breast Implants

Despite the many advantages offered by cohesive gel implants, there are some drawbacks as well.

  • These implants require a slightly larger incision for insertion, which is typically done in the breast crease below the breast. This could lead to a wider scar.
  • Cohesive silicone gel implants tend to cost more than their saline counterparts.
  • Cohesive gel implants must be monitored with an MRI every year or two to ensure a “silent rupture” does not occur.

Cohesive gel implants provide just one more option for women considering breast augmentation today.

Which is the Best Breast Implant Option For Me?

With a wealth of choices now available, women can select the procedure and implant type that will meet their specific need best.

As you can see, all of your options have their pros and cons and when experienced surgeons studied this choice in more detail, they found that while silicone options are more technologically advanced and give more natural results, some patients have preference for the look and feel of saline.

They also have differing levels of maintenance and upkeep, so the choice really is down to you as an individual with no right or wrong answer.

To learn more about your options in breast augmentation, contact us online or talk to our staff at Linia at 0800 170 7171 to schedule your personal consultation with one of our skilled surgeons today.