Considering Breast Implants? Learn About Your Options

saline or silicone implants

It's a common question when planning for breast augmentation surgery — which type of implants are the best? Careful planning with your plastic surgeon for this popular surgery includes considering the size and material of your new implants. Thanks in part to advancements in breast augmentation surgery as well as medical upgrades to the implants themselves, more and more women are surgically enhancing their bodies and their self-esteem. Award-winning, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Arun Rao of Rao Plastic & Hand Surgery in Tucson, AZ, is an expert at breast augmentation surgery and can assist you in deciding which type of implant is best for you. Below, Dr. Rao provides some helpful information regarding the difference between saline, gummy bear, and silicone implants. 


Safety first

Back in the 1980s, requests for silicone implants surged. Along with the increase in popularity came reports of associated risks, and there were some noted cases of silicone implants rupturing that caused women to become sick. As a result, implants were briefly taken off the market for further review. But FDA approval was quickly reinstated, and silicone implants were redesigned to be better than ever. A relevant question still commonly asked by patients about silicone implants is, are they safe? The short answer is yes. Today’s implants are comprised of better materials so patients can safely enjoy their implants, whether they choose silicone, gummy bear, or saline. Patients can also enjoy more sizing options, textures, and shapes, for a look and feel that is customized for each woman.


Long-lasting change with breast augmentation

Women in Tucson, AZ, love the benefits of breast augmentation surgery. It’s an opportunity to have fuller, shapelier breasts no matter what your age. While some women are born with minimum native breast tissue, age, pregnancy, and weight loss are significant contributors to a loss of volume and shape. If shapewear isn’t working to improve your concerns, breast procedures have become one of the most common cosmetic surgeries for women who want to regain their self-confidence with beautiful, natural-looking results. 


Saline, gummy bear, or silicone implants? 

Regardless of the type of implant you choose, they are surgically placed by Dr. Arun Rao under general anesthesia. Saline implants are generally the least expensive types of implants, and require a much smaller incision line than silicone. During surgery, the "outer shells" of the saline implants are inserted through a small incision and then filled to the desired volume with saline solution. This enables the plastic surgeon to make tweaks during surgery to reach the patient’s desired size, as well as allowing for better symmetry. With saline implants, a follow-up MRI every 2 – 3 years to check for any possible rupturing it is not necessary. If the saline implant ruptures, it slowly deflates, which is visible to the patient. If this occurs, the saline is absorbed into the body and poses no harm. 

"Gummy bear" implants tend to be firmer than traditional silicone implants, with options including a round or teardrop shape. Due to the thicker gel used in gummy bear implants, they can retain their shape even if the shells are broken.

The majority of women getting breast augmentation opt for silicone implants, perhaps due to the more natural look and feel. Silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel that feels very similar to natural breast tissue. Tucson-area women love the great variety of shapes and sizes available versus saline implants. Silicone implants are also lighter in weight, which eliminates the natural sag that may occur over time. Also, the "rippling" that can take place under the skin rarely occurs with silicone implants. Silicone implants do cost more than saline, but they also have a longer lifespan. Due to the concerns regarding silicone decades ago, silicone implants are one of the most highly tested medical devices to ensure their safety. 


Which implants stand the test of time?

No implants will last forever. Individuals that had breast augmentation at a younger age may have to consider having one or both implants replaced in time. After breast augmentation surgery, it is important to have Dr. Arun Rao check your breasts periodically to ensure they still look healthy. In general, average breast implants can last anywhere from 10 – 20 years. 


Does the type of implant affect recovery?

The recovery time for all types of implants is about the same. Most Tucson, AZ patients return to work in a few short days. More vigorous activities are given the green light after a few weeks by Dr. Rao. Full recovery and the optimal aesthetic outcome take about 3 – 4 months.


If you have been contemplating breast augmentation surgery, it is wise to discuss all of your options with an experienced plastic surgeon. Dr. Arun Rao at Rao Plastic & Hand Surgery in Tucson, AZ, can assist you in choosing the right implant type for the best results. Call Rao Plastic & Hand Surgery today to schedule your breast augmentation consultation.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.