All of the newest generations of breast implants have a durable external rubber silicone shell. The composition of the contents within the external shell of the breast implant determines whether it is called a saline or silicone implant. Since the shell is very similar, both saline and silicone implants are very durable and safe.
Saline breast implant
Saline breast implants are silicone rubber external shells engineered to be filled with a physiological solution of salt water. The saline water is harmless as its composition is similar to the saline found in your blood plasma. The saline breast implant is prepared by the manufacturer and provided to your surgeon as an empty shell designed to be filled with saline at the time of your surgery. At surgery, the empty saline implant is surgically placed through a short hidden incision and then filled to the specified volume remotely through a special valve designed within the saline implant. The advantage of a saline breast implant is its collapsible small size. Saline implants offer the breast augmentation patient a shorter incision and great choice of incision methods. The small dimension of a collapsed saline implant facilitates its placement through remote incision sites such as the axilla (armpit). Customized adjustments to produce a desired breast result are also possible by making limited volume adjustments to the saline breast implant during augmentation surgery. In the past, saline breast implants were susceptible to leaks, rupture, and deflation. New designs with thicker external saline breast implant shells have diminished the risk of deflation. However, the water like qualities of saline leave many patients dissatisfied with the "bag of water" unnatural feel and visible external "rippling" sometimes seen with saline breast augmentation.
Silicone breast implant
In contrast, silicone breast implants have the interiors of their rubber silicone envelope filled with a viscous material composed of a gel of polymerized silicone. To reproduce the natural feel of a normal breast, various viscosities of silicone gels have been used in breast implants. Unlike the collapsible saline implant, a silicone breast implant comes from the manufacturer already pre-filled with a fixed volume of silicone gel. Minor adjustments to the fixed volume of a silicone implant are not possible. The larger insertion volume of a silicone breast implant usually requires direct breast access through an infra-mammary or peri-areolar incision. Additionally, the manufacturing of the silicone gel breast implant is more complex resulting in greater cost. Despite these drawbacks, the silicone breast implant remains highly popular. The newest silicone "cohesive" gel breast implants have a natural breast feel. Furthermore, its cohesive viscosity better preserves the desired shape of the breast implant creating fuller and more natural looking breast. The natural feel and fuller breast shape have made these implants desirable in cosmetic breast augmentation. In Montreal, the silicone cohesive gel breast implant is the most popular choice among women choosing to have breast augmentation.
Dr. Chen Lee recommends and uses only the most modern brands of medically proven breast implants in cosmetic breast augmentation procedures (saline and silicone).