Breast implant safety
Breast implant safety: Which is better?
According to current research, there are no significant differences in the safety of silicone and saline implants. However, each type of breast implant has its pros and cons:
Ruptures. Ruptures are a risk with both kinds of breast implant. Ruptures might be caused by surgical error, a fall, or very occasionally by the pressure exerted on the breast during a mammogram. The implications of a rupture are a little different for the two types of breast implant.
- Saline implant ruptures are easy to spot. The breast rapidly changes shape over days as the fluid leaks out. If a saline implant breaks, all that leaks out is saltwater. The saltwater is harmlessly absorbed into the body. According to the MHRA, saline filled breast implants may have a higher rate of rupture than silicone gel filled breast implants, and therefore a higher removal rate.
- Silicone implant ruptures are more difficult to spot. When the implant breaks, the leaking silicone stays in the body. It can sometimes spread outside the breast and into distant lymph nodes. As unnerving as this sounds, studies in the US have not found that this results in any increased risk of disease. Nonetheless, if a silicone implant ruptures, your doctor will probably recommend removing it and any loose silicone.
- Ruptures of silicone breast implants are often “silent” and patients and doctors may not notice them. They can only be detected by an MRI scan. This scan may be available on the NHS, but check as this varies from area to area.
Aesthetic results. Many women and plastic surgeons prefer the look and feel of silicone breast implants. Silicone breast implants are generally considered to be more like real breast tissue. Saline implants are more prone to rippling of the skin.
Surgical differences. Saline implants are filled after they are implanted, so saline implants require a smaller incision than pre-filled silicone breast implants. Also, many saline implants can be adjusted after surgery. Months later, a woman could decide to increase or decrease the size of her saline implants without surgery. Your doctor can just use a syringe to put in more liquid or take it out. The size of standard pre-filled silicone implants cannot be changed.
Keep in mind that your doctor may have a strong recommendation for one type of breast implant over another. Certain factors, like your body type or the current size of your breasts, might make one type of implant better for you.
Breast implant safety: What are the risks?
While studies have not found evidence that breast implants, either silicone or saline, are connected with serious disease, there are still risks. There are also long-term implications. Here are some of the breast implant safety issues that you need to consider:
- The need for further surgery. Over time, breast implants wear out and need to be replaced. How long do breast implants last? There’s no definitive answer. It depends on your individual circumstances. In general, the older the breast implant, the higher the risk of rupture.