Breast Implant Comparison: Silicone Gel and Saline

Experts Report Results of Surveys of More than 3,000 Women at ASAPS Annual Meeting

NEW YORK, NY (April 16, 2004) —Women desiring breast implants need not be discouraged that silicone gel-filled implants are not yet on the market for general use, as the results of recent research demonstrate that women with saline implants are significantly more likely to express satisfaction with augmentation than women with silicone gel-filled implants. In research funded by the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF), more than 3,000 women with implants were surveyed to elicit comparisons between saline and silicone gel implants. Initial data from two online surveys in which patients were asked questions about their satisfaction with surgical results, informed consent, and complications will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), April 16-21 in Vancouver, BC.

“This is the first time we’ve had data from a large, geographically-diverse and anonymous group of women with breast implants,” says Leroy Young, MD, Co-chair of ASAPS’ Breast Surgery Committee and one of the researchers presenting data at the ASAPS meeting. “One of the surprises,” he continues,
“is that the only variable for which silicone gel had a statistical advantage was in producing a breast with a natural feel.” Dr. Young explains that in both surveys, women with gel implants were significantly more likely to require secondary surgery, as well as experience implant-related complications and
physical symptoms. However, with both silicone gel (69%) and saline (77%), patients overwhelmingly reported that “getting implants was a great decision.”

Dr. Young notes that the number of survey respondents with gel implants was much smaller than the number of responding women with saline implants, and the average length of implantation for those with gel devices was significantly longer. He says that researchers took this into account when interpreting the results, which still were found to be statistically significant.

Preliminary results of the surveys were first published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal, ASAPS’ peer-reviewed publication, and further analysis of the data will continue, according to Dr. Young.

Breast augmentation is the second most popular surgical cosmetic procedure, according to 2003 ASAPS statistics (280,401 procedures). “Women overwhelmingly report satisfaction with augmentation,” says Dr. Young, “but plastic surgeons are always looking for ways to ensure that women’s experience meets their expectations.”

Robert Singer, MD, president of ASERF, says that the foundation strongly encourages research that will expand what is known about breast implants. “There has been so much controversy in this area,” says Dr. Singer, “and much of it has been addressed by excellent science. However, research must continue. The more facts we have at our disposal, the more completely we can inform our patients and help ensure their satisfaction.”

Note: Each survey was posted on over a period of months. Multiple survey submissions were prevented by the computer programming so only one survey per computer was accepted. After a survey was submitted, responses were sent directly from the website to an independent statistician; neither ASAPS, ASERF, nor had access to data before they were analyzed. The margin of error is +/- 3% at a 95% confidence interval.


The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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