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Silicone, Saline or Structured: How to Choose The Breast Implant That’s Right For You

Silicone, Saline or Structured: How to Choose The Breast Implant That’s Right For You

One of the joys of being a plastic surgeon is being able to give women the size and shape breasts they desire. For some, this means larger breasts (breast augmentation). For others, it means smaller breasts (breast reduction) or reconstructed ones following a mastectomy (breast reconstruction). For those who want bigger, fuller breasts, breast implants are a safe, highly successful way to achieve the breast size they’ve always wanted. As well as breast augmentation, I offer a complete range of breast procedures which you can learn about here.

Recent concerns about textured breast implants

There are two general types of breast implants: textured and smooth. In my plastic surgery practice, I only use smooth implants but some plastic surgeons, especially in Europe, have used textured implants that have recently been recalled in the United States and worldwide. To help patients better understand this issue, I’ve made a 2½-minute video explaining the details, which you can watch by clicking on the image below.

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I offer three types of breast implants, all of them safe

There are three types of breast implants available in the United States today: 

  • Silicone breast implants that are filled with silicone gel
  • Saline breast implants that are filled with saline (sterile saltwater)
  • Structured, saline-filled implants that combine silicone gel and saline 

1. Silicone breast implants

Most women and plastic surgeons prefer the look and feel of silicone breast implants, which are generally considered to be more like real breast tissue. However, silicone implants are more expensive, require a slightly longer incision, and are a little more difficult to know if they have ruptured. Although they were taken off the market by the FDA for several years due to safety concerns, recent scientific studies have shown this type of implant to be safe.

2. Saline breast implants

Saline breast implants are silicone shells filled with sterile salt water (saline). Since they are filled after they are implanted in the breast, they require a slightly smaller incision than silicone ones. Saline breast implants provide a uniform shape, firmness and feel and are less expensive than silicone implants.

3. Structured, saline-filled implants 

The relatively new structured IDEAL implant provides a natural look and feel without using silicone gel. Consisting of a series of implant shells nested together and two separate chambers that hold the saline, its internal structure controls movement of the saline and supports the implant edges to reduce collapse and wrinkling.

Which type of implant is best for you: silicone, saline or structured?

The answer to this question is unique to each patient. The “best” implant for an individual woman depends on how she feels about a number of issues, such as cost, the need to monitor silicone gel implants for rupture, the size of the incisions, the potential need to replace the implants, her pre-surgery breast size and her desired post-operative breast size and shape. When helping a patient decide on which type of implant, I always take into consideration:

  • her body type
  • her age
  • her overall health
  • the current size of her breasts

It’s important to choose the implant you will be most comfortable with

The decision of which breast implant to choose is something you should discuss with your plastic surgeon and together, determine which one will bring you the most satisfaction. If cost and incision size are big concerns, you may want to go with saline. If you are worried about having silicone in your body, choose saline. Keep in mind, if you want the most natural feeling implants, silicone might be your best bet, especially if you have very little breast tissue to start with.

Are breast implants safe? My answer is yes.

In over 20 years of performing breast implant surgery in my plastic surgery practice, I have encountered very few complications in my patients as a result. For women who want larger breasts, who want the size and shape of their breasts to match, or who have had a mastectomy and want breast reconstructionbreast implants are a highly satisfying, long-lasting solution.

If you have breast implants, especially textured ones, you should call your surgeon or come see me for an exam

If you have breast implants — saline, silicone, structured or textured — it’s important to get them checked for ruptures, slippage, leakage, swelling, the previously-mentioned rare cancer or any other potential problems. For all of my patients with implants, I strongly recommend getting them checked once a year. If you have textured implants (the subject of the Allergan recall), you should act even sooner — get them checked right away.

Symptoms of potential problems include:

If you are experiencing of the following symptoms, consult your plastic surgeon right away:

  • Pain
  • Lumps
  • swelling
  • breast asymmetry

However, if there are no symptoms, there is no reason to remove the implants.

For more information about breast implants, read these 3 blogs

So that you can be fully informed about this important decision, I’ve written several blogs explaining the many aspects of breast implant surgery:

Considering breast implants?

If you are thinking about having breast implant surgery and would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact me and I will send you additional information prior to your appointment. During our consultation, I will assess the current appearance of your breasts, your reasons for wanting surgery, and your expectations. Then together, we will decide which breast procedure will bring you the results you’re looking for. I specialize in the most advanced techniques of breast augmentation surgery and am ready to help you achieve your goals. 

Learn more about the many breast procedures I offer

You can find a good deal of information on my website about the many breast procedures available to you: 

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Board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS), Samuel J. Beran, MD is a highly accomplished plastic surgeon with offices in Manhattan, Harrison and Mount Kisco, NY. With more than 20 years’ experience and a thorough command of the most advanced techniques and technologies, Dr. Beran consistently provides his patients with the highest level of plastic, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the breast, face, skin and body. Recently, Dr. Beran was named a “Top Doctor” by RealSelf for his dedication to responding to consumer questions and patient feedback. The “Top Doctor” designation is awarded to less than 10% of the RealSelf physician community.

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"Dr. Beran is a board certified plastic surgeon, specializing in cosmetic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation. He is amazing and I definitely recommend him."

-Olivia