When a woman considers getting breast implants, she must first make a decision about breast implant types. There are two kinds of implants that are generally available in any part of the world. Silicone implants were the first invented and, for a time, were the dominant product on the market. Since the 1990’s, however, saline implants have risen in popularity.
The Saline vs. Silicone Debate
Since their invention in the 1960’s, silicone implants have been very popular. Men and women were impressed by the way that silicone implants more closely resembled human flesh in the way that they felt.
However, in the 1990’s certain concerns arose as to the safety of these implants. Like any device, breast implants sometimes fail. One of the most common failures involves a rupture of the material containing the silicone in whichever shape has been chosen. When this occurs, the substance inside a breast implant can leak into tissue of a woman’s body. Some implant patients claimed that there was a connection between their failed implants and various diseases that they had contracted.
While the evidence regarding these connections remained unconfirmed, many prospective patients became interested in the possibility of saline implants. As a consequence of the controversy, saline implants surged in popularity. Until then, these breast implant types had been relatively rare. Today, each type of implant is widely available.
Two Texas doctors, named Cronin and Gerow, invented silicone implants in 1961. The implant was simply a pocket filled with silicone gel. They performed the first actual implant of the device in 1962.
Implants made from silicone gained popularity quickly. Many people prefer these types of implants for their natural appearance. Doctors can implant the pockets of silicone gel in various ways. They can put them under the chest muscles or above them.
Silicone implants came under fire for alleged complications caused by ruptures. However, in 2006, the FDA re-approved these implants due to the lack of any discernible connection between them and various ailments. In fact, the FDA was unable to find any problems caused by silicone gel implants in regard to cancer, autoimmune illnesses, or breastfeeding.
In 1965, a French surgeon discovered that saline was a viable alternative to silicone implants. The significant difference between saline implants and those made from silicone is the contents. The saline is a liquid and thus has a different feel to it. However, it remained in second-place, behind silicone, as a choice for breast implants. Some patients did not like the way that the product was prone to problems such as wrinkling.
After the beginning of the silicone controversy in the 1990’s, saline became the only available implant until the FDA approved silicone again. One advantage to saline is the way that it can be inserted with fewer and smaller incisions. After placing an empty bag inside the breast tissue or in the chest muscles, surgeons can inflate the bag by passing saline fluid through a tube.
Another advantage to saline is the lack of concern about ruptures. While the saline solution would be a nuisance if it leaked from the implant, there is no question about any negative health effect since the implant holds nothing foreign to the human body. Since the re-approval of silicone, saline has continued to be a competitive choice among implants.
Doctors and Patients
Some physicians encourage certain breast implant types over others. It is important for a patient to consult with a physician and feel comfortable with the choice that they will make together about an implant. If both doctor and patient are open and honest about the options, each of them is likely to be happy with the results.