Different surgeons prefer using different implants for different reasons. Some surgeons recommend silicone breast implants because they feel that they are “more modern” however in my experience “more modern” does not mean better. Many of the more modern, silicone breast implants have in recent years been associated with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) and Breast Implant-Associated Illness (BII) due to silicone and heavy metal allergy or toxicity. Some of the “more modern” silicone implants have even been banned and all silicone gel implants are currently under review.
Many might argue that even though saline implants are filled with saline (salt), they still have a silicone shell. However, saline implants have not been associated with any of the above problems and are recognised as being extremely robust and rarely rupture. And, even when they do rupture, it is only the salt water that leaks into the body and so no harm is done. The implant is usually easily removed and replaced.
When silicone implants rupture, on the other hand, the silicone is often not contained within the fibrous capsule and migrates to the lymph nodes and other areas of the body. It is impossible in many patient cases to remove all of the silicone gel after an implant has ruptured.
So for me, there is no question that saline implants are far safer than silicone gel implants.
But what about the way they feel inside your body?
When breast implants are placed behind the pectoral muscle, for many women it is almost impossible to tell the difference between a silicone gel and a saline implant. I recently treated two different women with leaking silicone gel implants. In both cases, the implants were removed and replaced with saline implants. At their 6 week review, I asked the women whether they noticed any difference between their old silicone gel and their new saline implants. Both replied that there was no difference in the feel of their breast implants.
So, why do so many surgeons in Australia recommend silicone gel implants?
I believe the answer is that silicone implants were very heavily marketed by their manufacturers and distributors as being something “new” and therefore “better”. Silicone was the latest and greatest thing. It was used in implants and in lip fillers which has also been recognised as a big mistake.
In addition, many surgeons in Australia have had very little to no experience of saline breast implants. You might find it interesting that in the United States many surgeons prefer to use saline breast implants.
For me, the choice is simple. Safety first.