If you are considering getting breast implants, you will need to choose the type, texture, shape and location of your implant. Because silicone breast implants got a bad reputation in decades past and were removed from the market for a period of time, saline implants were the only choice.

Several years ago, silicone implants were reintroduced to the public after having been redesigned and studied extensively to be proven safe by the FDA. Saline breast implants are still more popular, and though silicone gel implants may offer some advantages over saline there may also be risk involved.

Pain and Implant Removal

In 2008 more than 300,000 women underwent breast augmentation surgery with breast implants. The majority of those chose saline implants based on the belief that silicone was more dangerous and caused more complications.

Among breast reconstruction patients, 8% of those who received saline had them removed compared with 25% of silicone patients. In comparison, only 6% of silicone breast patients reported significant pain versus 16% of saline implant patients. Consequently it is clear that some controversy still exists.

Leakage and Rupture

Liquid silicone is known to cause lung problems and may contribute to the development of memory problems and autoimmune disease caused by heightened immune activity after exposure. Researchers cannot deny the possibility of silicone leakage and migration to the lungs. Danish researchers suggest that silicone implants will last an average of 10 years while saline may last only 7.

The possibility of rupture of a silicone breast implant is threatening enough to prevent many women and plastic surgeons from considering their use but saline implants have been shown to be capable of growing mold and bacteria. Saline implant leakage may put the woman at risk for systemic infection. Whether having received silicone gel or saline filled implants, most women will have had at least one broken implant within 11 years.

Costs Involved

Silicone implants tend to be around $1,000 to $1,500 higher than saline because of increased production costs. The plastic surgery fees will likely be the same as the procedure to place the implants is the same, but the overall cost of silicone gel implant surgery will be higher because of the cost of the actual implant itself.

In addition, in the event of breakage or leakage of a silicone implant, an MRI will likely be required to determine how much leakage has occurred. The cost of an MRI is often greater than $5,000 and is not necessary in the case of saline rupture.

Benefits of Silicone

Though silicone is less popular and may carry some health risks, some women prefer the feel of silicone breast implants. They tend to be softer and more natural feeling, less like a balloon. Some women who get saline are unhappy because rippling plastic can be felt beneath the skin. Silicone patients do not report this problem as often. Silicone also is closer to the same weight as natural breast tissue.

One big factor in choice of silicone breast implants versus saline may be the choice of a physician. Often the plastic surgeon will have a huge preference as to the type, shape, texture and placement of any type of breast implant.

If this is the case and you have done your research well to choose a reputable, experienced cosmetic surgeon who has proven through consultation and before and after photos of similar breast implant surgery, you will probably want to follow his advice in the end – just be sure that you understand the differences and the risks.