For women undergoing breast augmentation, one of the most important decisions they’ll need to make is which breast implant to use. There are two general types of breast implants: saline breast implants and silicone gel breast implants. Both are made of an outer medical-grade silicone shell, but where they differ is the substance that is inside the implant. Saline implants have a silicone shell that is filled with a sterile saltwater solution once the implant is placed in the breast, while silicone implants come pre-filled with a thicker silicone gel. Both implants offer options in shapes, sizes and textures, and each has its own benefits.
Houston breast implant surgeon Dr. Ciaravino uses both saline and silicone gel implants with great success. Scheduling a consultation with Dr. Ciaravino is the best way to determine whether or not breast augmentation is right for you. During your consultation, he will evaluate your health history, assess your existing breast tissue, listen to your concerns and consider your breast augmentation goals to help you determine which implant is best for you. The information listed here can also give you a general understanding of the implant options available to you and how implants can transform your breasts into the size and shape you desire.
Saline and silicone breast implants were both developed in the 1960s. Because of their natural look and feel, silicone soon became the implant of choice for millions of women. However, in 1992 the Food and Drug Administration restricted the use of silicone implants to investigate the safety of these devices. After two decades of intense study and research, the FDA declared silicone gel breast implants safe and approved their use in the United States for patients 22 years of age and older. This is excellent news for patients and plastic surgeons who again have a wider choice of implants.
Both saline and silicone gel breast implants have an exterior made of silicone gel. But the material inside the implants is what gives a different look and feel to the breast implant.
Saline breast implants are filled with sterile saline (salt water). In comparison, silicone gel breast implants are filled with a silicone gel. Think of how a water balloon feels in comparison to a gummy candy—water is fluid and flows in the balloon, whereas gummy candy sticks together and is springy. Because a saline implant is made of water, it can feel less like real breast tissue. Although rare, saline implants can also appear rippled in thin patients or those who have little natural breast tissue. Silicone gel, on the other hand, is the consistency of fat and therefore silicone gel implants feel and look closer to natural breast tissue. Saline breast implants give a uniform shape and firmness. However, they can appear rounder and more visible in the upper portion of the breast, giving them an unusually high and unnatural look. For some patients, this may be the look they desire, whereas other patients may prefer a more natural sloping breast. How the implants look will depend on each patient, as well as their goals. Over the years, Dr. Ciaravino has created thousands of beautiful breast contours using saline implants, and they continue to be a large part of his breast augmentation practice today.
Silicone gel breast implants look and feel more natural due to silicone gel’s thick, cohesive material that moves and feels like real breast tissue. Silicone implants are lighter and give the breast a more natural-looking slope. They are preferred over saline implants if you decide to have them placed on top of the pectoral muscle instead of underneath. In addition, Dr. Ciaravino often recommends silicone implants to women who are seeking the softest, most realistic breasts, especially if the patients are very thin.
Scarring is a concern for most of our patients, but rest assured that you are in great hands under the care of Dr. Ciaravino. He will determine the optimal incision site for to correctly place the implant, as well as to limit scarring.
Saline breast implants are placed into the body empty and then filled to the desired fullness. Because of this, saline breast implants can fit through extremely small incisions (less than one inch in length). In addition, because saline implants are unfilled and therefore smaller before being inserted, there are more incision placement choices. Traditional incision sites near the armpit or on the underside of the breast can be used to place saline implants. But other insertion sites, such as the border of the areola (the pigmented skin around the nipple of the breast) or even the belly button, can be used to hide incisions and decrease scarring.
Because of the size difference of saline and silicone implants, they require different incision sizes and placement. Because the silicone gel implant comes from the manufacturer pre-filled, traditionally a larger incision is required. However, with his many years of experience, Dr. Ciaravino has created his own safe and highly effective technique for minimizing the length of the incision needed.
Dr. Ciaravino’s breast augmentation technique is extremely gentle and precise. He uses much smaller incisions than you would find elsewhere, and special instruments which allow for accurate implant placement. With his technique, patients can achieve beautiful breasts with an easy, comfortable recovery. Most patients have no bruising and there are no bandages or sutures to remove, drastically minimizing potential scarring. Patients LOVE it.
In a saline breast implant, salt water is filled into the implant after the implant is placed in the breast, unlike silicone breast implants that come pre-filled from the manufacturer. Having the ability to adjust the volume of saline implants is a benefit to patients who have breast asymmetry because each implant can be filled differently to equalize size differences between the two breasts. Silicone implants in different sizes can also help balance asymmetry, depending on the degree of correction needed.
On average, silicone implants cost twice as much as saline implants. Note that many factors determine the price of a procedure, so Dr. Ciaravino will review the costs associated with saline and silicone implants and help you weigh the cost against the benefits of each.
The risk of a leak or rupture is low for both saline and silicone breast implants. However, detecting a leak or rupture is different for each implant. A leak in a saline implant is easily detectable because the implant will deflate, making the breast appear smaller. A saline implant leak doesn’t pose a threat to your health because the saline is made of a saltwater solution that is similar to regular body fluid. Your body will easily absorb the saline that is leaked out of the implant.
A leak or rupture in a silicone implant is sometimes called a “silent rupture” because the silicone gel stays in the implant area and doesn’t migrate to other parts of the body. Because there isn’t a visible deflation of the breast, you do not have any way of knowing that a rupture has occurred. Eventually, a rupture in a silicone implant can cause changes in the shape of the implant or breast pain. For patients with silicone gel breast implants, an MRI is recommended every two years to check for ruptures and ensure that your implants are functioning properly.
Saline and silicone implants do not increase your risk of breast cancer. However, screening for breast cancer can be tricky with either implant. The x-rays used in mammography cannot penetrate saline or silicone implants adequately to detect tumors or cancer. In addition, both implants can conceal breast tissue, making it difficult to see the entire breast with mammography. Often a 3D mammogram is recommended for patients with breast implants because 3D mammography takes one-millimeter slices of the breast, providing smaller and more detailed images of the breast tissue. MRI and ultrasound can also be used to screen for breast cancer.
Saline and silicone breast implants have similar risks that are primarily associated with surgery and not the actual implants. Possible risks include:
Some patients chose saline implants because they believe the salt water solution is safer than silicone gel. While there has been much debate over the safety of silicone gel implants, extensive research has shown them to be as safe as saline breast implants. Dr. Ciaravino uses a new generation of silicone gel implants made by Mentor and Allergan Corporation that are far superior to those used in the past. These implants have a proven track record of safety.
Dr. Ciaravino has used both saline and silicone gel breast implants to provide his patients voluptuous, beautifully proportioned breasts. He will use his experience and expertise to help you evaluate the pros and cons of saline and silicone gel implants and will help you make the right choice to achieve the breasts of your dreams. If you would like more information on the breast implant options available to you in the Houston and Sugarland, Texas area, please contact Ciaravino Total Beauty at 713-627-1200 to schedule a consultation.
The physician took the time to understand what I wanted out of the surgery and he is very knowledgeable and professional. The Staff is kind and supportive and the office is clean and comfortable. My overall experience was wonderful and I will highly recommend ya’ll to everyone! The doctor took the time to listen to what I wanted from the procedure and worked with me to find the perfect size. The doctor explained why the size would be perfect based on my chest cavity and it was perfectly correct!
The staff and Dr. Ciaravino are very friendly and knowledgeable. They made me feel very comfortable before and after my procedure. Everyone in the office is very friendly and professional. I did not have to wait very long and answered all of my questions. Dr. Ciaravino’s expertise and advise was greatly appreciated and very happy with the results!
Dr Michael Ciaravino is a Magnificent Surgeon!! Honest, knowledgeable, caring with excellent bedside manners. I have been his patient for several years and I will never go to another doctor. I am so happy with my recent Breast Augmentation! My recovery has been easy, and I feel great ! Thanks to Dr. Ciaravino and his Amazing Team who made my experience be a terrific one ! I can’t say enough good things about the amazing Ciaravino Girls ! Thank you beautiful ladies for being there for me.
I was extremely nervous about scheduling Breast Augmentation/Liposuction surgery without visiting the facility due to me living abroad. Upon my arrival to Texas, I was able to visit the office for a consult/pre-op. The moment I walked in I was greeted by the receptionist and amazed by the chic yet calming decor. This was very much needed since I walked in with butterflies in my stomach. The nurse/patient coordinator was very attentive and assured me of the smooth process. She was definitely right. Dr.Caravino is amazing he was able to give me a very natural yet sexy look. I’m so very thankful and planning another visit soon. Thanks again to Dr. Caravino for giving me my pre-mom body back and thank you to his staff for being just as amazing.
Very professional staff. The doctor made every visit comforting and he’s clearly great at what he does. Love the end results, 2 days after the procedure I was feeling great! No pain, no bruising, everything was awesome!
EVERYTHING! The look, the ease of transitioning back to “normal”, the care….EVERYTHING! The doctor and staff are AMAZING! He and his staff were very attentive to my questions and needs and always made me feel at ease. I have already referred three people to him!
Dr Ciaravino and his staff exceeded my expectations. I have several of my friends whose gone to him for augmentations and recommended him. I couldn’t be more pleased!! From the scheduling over the phone for the consultation to the post-op appointment, choosing this practice is by far the best decision I made for myself. I can’t express how highly I will recommend to anyone looking for a change, I actually already have passed on his information to a couple ladies. The results are more than I imagined and I only had my surgery Nov 15, 2017 (2 weeks ago). I never had to take any of my pain medicine which as my first surgery ever I didn’t expect it to be so perfect! Thank you again to you Dr Ciaravino and his lovely beautiful staff for making me feel comfortable before and after. Look forward to seeing you guys in 3 months.
Information was explained clear and concise. I felt prepared in every aspect on what to expect and how to handle myself during the recovery process. The recovery went as explained and I had minimal discomfort. I am loving my results, the whole process was wonderful!
The accessibility of the staff after my procedure to answer questions I had was phenomenal. The results are amazing, I couldn’t be happier! The staff and Dr. C are all very knowledgable and very helpful. Dr. C did a fantastic job with my procedure and I am excited to see the final results once I am completely healed.
The staff was very friendly and helpful through the entire process. My results are exactly what I wanted and asked for as far as size and shape with a more natural look.
Doctor Ciaravino gave me exactly what I wanted. I love the way my breasts look. His assistants were very knowledgeable, helpful and extremely nice! I love the way my breasts look. I wanted natural and that’s what Doctor Ciaravino gave me.
Dr C’s office and staff are first class. Always kind, helpful and considerate. Each time I go in, it feels like going to see friends! I had abdominoplasty and breast augmentation. I love my body! Could not ask for better results!
From the first consultation to my last post-op app I have been so happy with everything. Dr Ciaravino and his staff have always made me feel super comfortable. I will be going back for any cosmetic procedures I need in the future!
Friendly staff and environment. Dr. Ciaravino was very thorough about explaining the risks and possible complications of the surgery and how to prevent them. Other than what I had researched about him prior to my consultation, I knew he’d be the perfect doctor to perform my surgery because of his bedside manner skills! Down to earth and doesn’t make you feel like a number. He addresses your concerns and took the time to explain my questions.
Everyone from the CSM to the nurse who has been on staff for 8 years. Everyone made my husband and I feel very welcomed and comfortable. Didn’t feel pressured and the staff was very informative!
Nadia helped explain every single thing I would need to know in such detail, I felt that I knew exactly what I was getting into. She is so sweet and kind I was nervous and she helped calm my nerves and make me feel right at home. By the time the surgeon entered the room, I had most of my questions answered so I felt fully ready and excited. Nadia is the BEST.
Dr. C, you and your staff are great!! You all made the whole process practically painless. I am very impressed with the results…You are so professional and at the same time so compassionate and caring, another happy patient!!
I cannot say enough wonderful things about every single person I encountered at this office. You are all thorough, kind, conscientious, and beautiful inside and out!
I have always been a bit apprehensive about having breast augmentation. Although I wanted one, I had a fear that they would turn out too big and look unnatural. Dr. Ciaravino listened to my concerns and truly did a beautiful job. He is truly an artist with his ability and truly did a beautiful job.
Just wanted to let y’all know that I think that Dr. Ciaravino is by far the most talented doc around. I had my surgery on Monday and haven’t had a pain killer since Tuesday morning. Not even a Tylenol. There was no bruising or swelling at all. I am just amazed at how simple and painless the whole thing was. I attribute this to Dr. Ciaravino’s talent and gentleness.