Peninsula Plastic Surgery

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Offices in Maryland & Delaware

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Information on Gel/Silicone Implants

Information on Saline Implants

One advantage of saline implants is that their insertion requires smaller incisions and therefore shorter scars. During surgery, the surgeon inserts saline implants prior to inflating them. This enables them to roll them up and insert them through short skin incisions. Silicone gel implants, on the other hand, are pre-filled. Inserting pre-filled implants requires longer incisions.

Another advantage of saline implants is the presence of valves located on their outer shells. These valves enable the surgeon to surgically add or remove fluid at a later date, even years later.
Some women feel more secure with saline implants because it becomes obvious when they rupture. When a saline implant ruptures, the saline is resorbed (absorbed) by the body and the breast loses volume rapidly, within a few days. Contrariwise, the great majority of silicone gel implants, when ruptured, maintain their shape.

First and foremost, gel implants feel more natural than saline implants. It is difficult to palpate (feel with a hand) any edge of an in-place silicone gel implant. Most plastic surgeons can find with palpation several edges of an in-place saline implant, especially in thinner women. This distinction is more important to women who desire to keep their breast enlargement confidential.

Silicone gel implants have a lower incidence of visible rippling. This is due to the fact that silicone gel, especially the thicker gels of today, are far more viscous than saline. This is important in very thin women, who have a higher risk of their rippling being visible.

Lastly, the newer silicone gel implants maintain their shape even if they rupture. They are filled with silicone gel far different than the gels of the past. Gels of today contain more molecular cross-linking, which enables them to maintain their shape and prevents the gel from “running.” In fact, one manufacturer refers to its gel as “Memory Gel” because the gel will actually maintain its shape even if its outer shell is cut or removed. For women who no longer fear having their tissues exposed to silicone gel, this is an advantage over saline implants.