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Woman in GreenWhen considering breast augmentation, it's easy to learn about your breast implant options online. While all implants will provide increased breast volume, each implant type will have its own benefits and drawbacks. So what's the best implant type? It depends – read on to see how you can make the right selection for your cosmetic goals.

A Quick Summary

Here are the basic types of implants available in the U.S. today. When you visit with plastic surgeons for consultations, they can provide you more specifics regarding the implant brands and other details of the implants they carry.

Saline Implants: Saline is a medical-grade sterile salt water solution. It is contained within an outer silicone shell. The amount of saline in an implant affects the feel of the breast, with a greater amount of saline creating a firmer breast. The watery consistency inside the implant also may lead to visible rippling of the implant.

Silicone Gel Implants: Silicone has a thicker consistency than saline, which makes this implant type feel more like natural breast tissue. Unlike saline implants, silicone implants are filled before surgery, so the incision must be larger and the size cannot be customized during surgery.

Gummy Bear Implants: Also made of silicone, "gummy bear" implants contain an even thicker gel that keeps it shape. These implants come pre-shaped in a teardrop form, with the increased volume at the base of the breast.

Choosing the Best Breast Implant

As you've probably guessed, since there are three implant types available, there are reasons for women to consider all three and there is no one implant type that is the "best" for every woman. That said, there are still some questions you can ask yourself to narrow down your choices for your breast augmentation procedure.

  • How important is a natural feel? Most women find that silicone gel implants feel the most like natural breast tissue, closely followed by gummy bear implants. The salt water solution in saline implants feels the least like breast tissue.
  • Are you concerned about visible rippling? Particularly in thinner women, saline implants can be visible below the skin. Silicone gel and gummy bear implants do not ripple or wrinkle in this way.
  • Is cost a factor? Saline breast implants are a bit less expensive than silicone gel or gummy bear implant models. Given the other expenses associated with breast augmentation surgery, the implant cost should not be a major factor in your decision, but if you are looking to minimize costs, choosing a saline implant can help. In addition, women who have silicone breast implants are advised to have regular MRIs to detect "silent rupture" of the implant, which is not required for saline implants.
  • Does silicone concern you? In spite of extensive testing and research showing an excellent safety profile for modern silicone breast implant options, some women still feel more comfortable knowing that in the event of rupture, the contents of a saline implant will be absorbed harmlessly by the body and the rupture will be immediately evident. For these women, saline implants are a better choice.