One of the more common questions by patients considering breast implant surgery is that of the implant type. Most patients who are interested in breast augmentation carry out their own research prior to their consultation but often find the plethora of available information overwhelming and even confusing. During our consultation visit, I do my best to present the pros and cons of the various implant styles in a way that is easily understood.
Saline implants and cohesive gel implants are constructed differently. While saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water (just like IV solution), gel implants are pre filled to various shapes and sizes with a silicone gel polymer. Some women prefer gel implants, others are more comfortable with an implant that is filled with sterile saline solution. It's really an individual choice as both styles of implant can give a very natural result.
Cohesive gel-filled implants are superior to older generations of silicone breast implants since cohesive gel will never leak out if rupture occurs. In fact, if gel implants are ruptured, the cohesive gel will retain its shape and stay within the outer shell. This cohesive property eliminates instances of gel migration that could sometimes occur when the older style implants failed.
Saline filled implants contain a salt and water solution within the membrane shell. They have the advantage of being adjustable so that volumes can be more precisely matched in cases of asymmetric breasts. If a saline implant fails, the body harmlessly absorbs the solution and the breast size shrinks – usually over just a few days.
If any implant fails, it should be replaced. I remind all of my patients that they should call me at any time if they experience any problems with their implants.