Summary: Each year, thousands of women nationwide get breast augmentation to improve their figures. While either saline or silicone breast implants can create beautiful results in the right candidate, silicone implants remain the most popular choice for a variety of reasons. However, a new player, the saline-filled IDEAL® implant, may provide an attractive option for women who want the best benefits of both.

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The Basics of Silicone and Saline Breast Implants

Both silicone and saline implants come with a silicone shell. Saline implants are filled with a sterile salt water solution after being inserted into the breast pocket, allowing the surgeon to use a slightly smaller incision and fill the implants to a custom size.

Silicone implants, on the other hand, are filled with a silicone gel. Many women feel that these implants have a more natural feel than their saline counterparts. This can make silicone implants a better option for women with very little natural breast tissue.

The IDEAL® Breast Implant

Invented by plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Hamas, the IDEAL® implant was designed to provide safe, reliable and beautiful breast augmentation results. Often described as a hybrid of saline and silicone implants, the IDEAL® breast implant consists of an outer silicone shell as well as a series of additional silicone shells nested inside. Saline solution fills the spaces between each shell.

Natural Feel

Because of the series of structured silicone shells inside of each IDEAL® breast implant, these implants can provide a natural feel that resembles the softness of traditional silicone breast implants. The series of shells allows the implants to respond naturally as the saline solution gently moves between chambers.

Reduced Risk of Folding

Implant folding occurs when the implant collapses, causing dents or ripples. Women with naturally small breasts may be especially concerned about rippling, as implant folding can often be more easily seen when there’s less tissue coverage over the implant. The IDEAL® implant may offer a more reliable structure that has a decreased chance of collapsing. The shells, which are perforated, fit together like nesting dolls to provide greater stability.

Because implant folding can also contribute to implant rupture, the stability of IDEAL® implants may cause these breast implants to be last longer than traditional options.

Satisfaction Rates

Approved by the FDA in 2014, the IDEAL® implant is still undergoing a 10-year clinical trial, which started in 2009. Of the 502 participants, 94.3 percent who had first-time augmentation with the IDEAL® implant reported satisfaction. Of those who had had another type of implant replaced with the IDEAL® breast implant, 92.3 percent said they were satisfied.

Minimal Capsular Contracture Rates

Capsular contracture occurs when scar tissue surrounding the breast implant becomes overly hardened, which can lead to soreness and an altered breast appearance. There is no known way to fully prevent capsular contracture, but women participating in the current IDEAL® implant trial have experienced a minimal rate of capsular contracture.

Getting the Best Breast Augmentation Results

The IDEAL® implant is currently not available to the public as it undergoes clinical trials. While the IDEAL® implant may be promising for the future of breast augmentation, the best breast augmentation results depend much more on surgical technique than the exact type of breast implant used. An experienced cosmetic surgeon can help you decide on the best implant for you based on your appearance goals.