The “silicone scare” is old news, and silicone breast implants are rapidly becoming the favorite for breast augmentation surgery. If you’re considering breast implants, but are still a little skeptical about silicone, make sure you do some research before you make a decision. You don’t have to rely on second-hand, outdated information. Check out the 3 main reasons why silicone implants are becoming the “gold-standard”.
#1 They’re not Saline
One of the main reasons why silicone implants are skyrocketing is an obvious one; they aren’t saline. Saline implants are really just high-tech water balloons, and as you might expect, water balloons don’t make the best breasts. Saline implants tend to feel much harder than silicone, and they don’t look very natural either. They are more likely to wrinkle under the skin, which makes them look “fake”, and they are probably more likely to give you a “capsular contracture“, which can sometimes necessitate further surgery. Everything considered, you probably don’t want to spend $1200 on a water balloon… that sounds like something the government would do 🙂
#2 They’re Soft
The biggest difference between saline and silicone is how they feel. While neither of them feels exactly like a natural breast, silicone is definitely a closer match. It’s much more supple, and moves in a more natural way. The best way to experience this difference for yourself is to talk to other women with implants. Most ladies who are considering breast augmentation have friends who have implants, so don’t be afraid to ask. Another great way to compare is to ask your surgeon to see some samples in the office. You can squeeze them until your heart’s content and decide for yourself which one feels more real. You can also order Breast Implant Starter Kits from many of the major implant manufacturers like Allergan and Mentor. The kits include a few sample sizes and some very useful brochures. You can even put the implants in your bra at home to get an idea of how they would look.
#3 They’re Safe
The safety concerns over silicone implants that originated more than a decade ago were largely the result of unsubstantiated information that the media chose to publicize without knowing whether or not their stories had any factual basis. After years of internal review of the science behind the safety of silicone, the FDA fully approved their use for breast augmentation, and noted that there has never been any hard evidence to support the dangers that were heavily scrutinized by the media in the past. It’s also noteworthy that silicone breast implants happen to be the most common implant used for breast reconstruction surgery, which undoubtedly speaks to their safety profile.
The first generation of silicone breast implants was produced in the 1960’s. They were essentially plastic balloons filled with liquid silicone gel. The plastic shells were very thick to prevent the gel from leaking, but this thick shell also made them feel very unnatural. Shortly thereafter, the next generation of implants was designed with a thinner shell to give them a softer feel, but this one ended up being too thin and resulted in an increased number of gel leaks. The third generation went back to the idea of a thicker shell, but this time a more supple material was used to keep them feeling soft and natural. This generation of implants was used safely for many years, but since engineers don’t always follow the rule “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” they couldn’t keep themselves from building a better boob!
The most modern generation of silicone implants still have a thick and soft shell, but are no longer filled with liquid silicone . “Cohesive” gel has replaced it, and this has proven to be the silver bullet for any leftover anxiety about the safety of silicone implants. The gel is “cohesive” because it sticks to itself and keeps it’s shape even if it’s outside the shell, much like a Gummy Bear candy… hence the nickname “gummy bear implants”. This is an extremely important concept when it comes to leaks. If you do a little voodoo dance and poke a gummy bear with a pin, nothing happens, right? Nothing pours out. It doesn’t leak. And it doesn’t deflate. It’s still a yummy gummy bear. It’s the same idea with a cohesive gel implant; because there’s no liquid inside, leaks are a thing of the past.
If you want a soft, natural result from a breast implant, silicone is definitely the way to go. Saline implants still have a role for a select group of women, but they are kind of like spending your money buying a busted up 1982 VW bug when you can afford a cute little 2010 Mercedes convertible. Silicone is without question the Mercedes of breast implants, so don’t make a decision without doing your homework.
Nicholas Vendemia, M.D. Plastic Surgeon, New York City MAS / Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery www.ManhattanAestheticSurgery.com
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto
NOTICE: None of the celebrities or individuals discussed here have ever received treatment, surgery, medical advice, or evaluations from any author, physician, surgeon, or representative of this blog. All images and photos in this article represent models only. No actual patients or clients are shown.