If you’ve been considering a breast augmentation but are concerned about news stories that have reported on the rupture or leakage of certain types of breast implants, you may be looking for a safer alternative. Luckily, there are a variety of fillers available that do not rely on saline or silicone. Read on to learn more about these alternatives and how they may provide advantages over traditional breast implants.

What are saline and silicone?

Breast implants are traditionally created from a silicone or plastic pouch. This pouch may be filled either with silicone gel or saline solution (salt water). A saline implant (outside the body) will feel like a water balloon, while a silicone implant will feel like a balloon filled with jelly or liquid soap. There are several advantages and disadvantages to each type of implant. Silicone implants are generally considered to be more natural, in both look and feel, but can run the risk of “silent ruptures”–a leak in the implant that is unnoticed until health problems develop. Although silicone implants are more durable now than they were when first brought to market, there was a temporary moratorium on these types of implants because of the number of women suffering health consequences.

Saline implants are generally less expensive than silicone, and their size can be adjusted during the surgery for a natural appearance. However, saline implants may gradually lose pressure over time and create a rippled look on the breast.

What alternatives are available?

If you would prefer the natural look and feel of silicone implants but are concerned about health consequences, you may want to consider an “alternative composition implant.” These implants are similar to silicone but use alternative materials that are less harmful if leakage or rupture of the implant should occur. One type of alternative implant uses a silicone-based pouch filled with soy oil, while another uses a pouch filled with a polypropylene (a type of plastic) string. There are other alternative gels (similar in look and feel to silicone gels) available. Many of these implants are even manufactured by the same companies that produce saline and silicone implants.

Before making the final determination on the type of breast implants you would like, speak to your plastic surgeon, like Dr Ahmed Omarjee. He or she will be able to help you fully evaluate the risks and benefits of each type of implant, as well as explain which implants may be more suited to your body type or frame size.