What is the difference between saline and silicone implants?

Both types of breast implants have an outer shell made of a soft silicone polymer. Saline-filled implants are placed inside the breast and then filled with sterile saline (salt water) until the desired size is reached. Silicone gel implants are prefilled and cannot be changed in size for fine adjustments, but the silicone is soft and natural feeling.

What are High Profile Breast Implants?

Breast implants come in different shapes and variable amounts of projection (the amount of forward fullness the implant provides). With their experience of over 1000 breast implant procedures, and by using the Vectra 3D imaging system, Dr. Michael Epstein can help you choose the right implant size and shape for your breast proportions and body type.

Can I see what I would look like with breast implants?

We can show you a simulated 3D image of your appearance with breast implants. By using our Vectra 3D imaging system, you can virtually try on different sizes and shapes of implants on a 3D image of your body for a better idea of the possible result.

What do breast implants feel like?

Silicone gel implants tend to feel more like the natural breasts and are preferred by many plastic surgeons and patients. While the feel of the breast depends on many factors, a breast enlarged with a silicone-gel implant will tend to feel natural, particularly in women with little natural breast tissue (an A cup or small B cup). Women with low body fat may also prefer a silicone gel implant for the same reason.

What is breast implant rippling?

The edge of the implant may sometimes be felt on the side and lower part of the breast. It may even feel uneven under the skin. In severe cases, or when large implants are used, the implant edges may cause ripples to be seen under the skin. Rippling is less likely to happen with silicone gel implants.

What is the cost of breast implants in Chicago?

As with any medical procedure, cost is complex and is dependent on several variables. Understanding the costs and options will help you make the best decision for your financial and personal needs. The key element to consider is which type of implant you most prefer. There are two implants in general use:

Silicone implants are what the public generally thinks of when they discuss breast augmentation surgery. They are generally considered to achieve a realistic aesthetic effect and tend to cost approximately $1,000 to $1500 for each implant.

Saline implants are the same silicone shell but are filled with salt water. Water does not compress the way silicone does, so the implants will have a different feel in comparison. Saline implants run to about $500 apiece.

Procedure Location

Does the doctor perform the procedure in a hospital, surgery center, or office facility? Do you need to have it done in a hospital based on any pre-existing medical conditions?

Ask where your doctor intends to perform the operation and how that will affect the cost. It is impossible to give absolute answers in this article because each doctor will have his own preferences and pricing guidelines. A hospital typically costs more than a surgery center or office facility.

Procedure Fees

In addition to the implants, patients must consider the cost of the procedure itself. Surgeon’s fees for the specific implant vary but tend to be between $3500 and $4500. There are also fees for the anesthesia, the facility, and supplies. These will be detailed to you upon request; make sure you go through them and understand why and what you are paying for.

What are the potential complications associated with breast implants?

As with all other surgical procedures, especially those that involve placement of a prosthetic device, there is a small amount of risk. Both saline-filled and silicone gel implants come with similar risks. However, in rare cases, a broken silicone gel implant may cause pain and swelling in the area around the break.


Women who have breast implants need to have regular mammograms performed just like women without implants. Occasionally, additional mammograms may be necessary to image all the breast tissue.

After having breast implants, patients should be able to breastfeed if they decide to have children; however, it is impossible to predict how implants will affect a patient’s ability to breastfeed with certainty.  Dr. Epstein can provide a surgical technique that does not affect the breast tissue and therefore not interfere with the ability to breastfeed.

Breast implants generally maintain the size and shape of the breast, but they do not stop the aging process. Changes in weight may also affect the results. At times, additional procedures may be considered.

Breast Implant Removal & Revision

There are times when breast augmentation surgery may not be done correctly, the healing process was complicated, an older breast implant needs to be replaced, or a less than optimal breast implant was chosen. In these cases, a revision surgery may be necessary. MAE Plastic Surgery has extensive experience in breast implant removal and revision. Please watch the video below as Dr. Epstein walks you through a revision surgery.

Breast Implant Breakage

Since no medical device is considered permanent, the outer shell of a breast implant may break at some point. This is unlikely to happen within the first ten years after placement, however. When a saline-filled implant breaks, the salt water inside is absorbed by the body and the breast returns to its original (smaller) size over a few days. The implant is then typically replaced by a new implant during a procedure that typically has little discomfort and a fast recovery. It is less clear when a silicone gel implant breaks; when it does, the breast typically does not become smaller. As an added assurance to patients, the breast implant manufacturers offer warranty programs in case the implants break. Current recommendations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourage women to have MRI examinations of their implants after 3 years and every 2 years thereafter to see if there is any break in the shell.

How to Prepare for Breast Augmentation Surgery

Visit a plastic surgeon for your treatment consultation. During this visit, women must provide their full medical history as many medications can cause bleeding during surgery. Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs should not be taken prior to surgery. Your surgeon will advise you on ceasing any medications prior to surgery and if there are any medications or vitamins that should be taken before and after the surgery to help with the healing process.

Your surgeon will also discuss:

  • The size and type of implant that is best for your body
  • If needed, any medical tests or mammograms
  • Things to buy before surgery for the recovery period
  • Not smoking for at least one month prior to surgery

The preoperative visit is very important to the success of the surgery because the patient gets to finalize the size and type of implant and go over any questions or concerns about the surgery.

Getting Ready on the day of Surgery

The best way for a patient to prepare themselves for the day of surgery is to be mentally ready for a change. While surgeons hope for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery for their patients, it is important for patients to be ready for any obstacles. If the patient follows all of their doctor’s orders, then the procedure should go smoothly, and recovery time should be quick.
On the day of surgery, the patient should:

  • Take a shower and wash with the soap
  • Not wear any makeup, cream or lotion
  • Remove contact lenses
  • Remove any nail or toe polish and any body piercings
  • Not eat or drink for at least eight hours prior to surgery
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes
  • Arrange for someone to pick them up and stay with them overnight after their surgery

Planning for post-procedure recovery

Pain medications, ice packs, gauze, books, pillows, and magazines are a few items that should be bought prior to surgery and ready at home. When the patient arrives at home with these items available, post-operative recovery time should be easier. It is also important to have someone spend the first night and be available if needed, as it may be difficult and uncomfortable for the patient to move around.

The healing process is the most important part of the surgery. Patients should plan to take anywhere from a few days to two weeks off work. Soreness, swelling and bruising are normal, but it may take a few days for these symptoms to subside. Strenuous activity that causes blood pressure to rise should be avoided as much as possible for at least the first two weeks. The preparation process for breast augmentation surgery is crucial to the success of the surgery.

Schedule Your Chicago Plastic Surgery Consultation

Our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Epstein, performs plastic surgery for patients all over Chicago and the surrounding areas. Call us today for scheduling.

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