When a woman undergoes reconstructive surgery with breast implants after a mastectomy, she has two choices: saline or silicone. Patients reach this decision after discussing pros and cons as well as personal preferences with their surgeon. However, the results of a new study may influence some women to pick silicone over saline.
Although saline implants are a popular choice for reconstructive surgery-breast cancer survivor Christina Applegate reportedly chose saline for her own reconstruction-research published in the latest online edition of the medical journal Cancer shows that women who have silicone implants are more pleased with the cosmetic results than those with saline implants.
The findings come after 306 saline implant recipients and 176 silicone implant recipients, all of whom underwent breast reconstruction after a mastectomy in either the US or Canada, completed a survey to determine satisfaction with the look and feel of their breasts post-surgery.
“We now know that women who elect to proceed with the placement of a silicone implant report higher satisfaction with their reconstructed breasts than those who choose saline implants,” said Dr. Colleen McCarthy, the study author from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
The study also found that regardless of the implant material, satisfaction diminished over time and satisfaction was lower when a patient had received radiation treatment.
It’s important to note that while silicone implants scored higher in satisfaction, those with saline implants were not unsatisfied. According to Dr. McCarthy, satisfaction with post-mastectomy reconstruction using implants is generally high, and implant type is a relatively small variable.
“Patient counseling should reflect these realities in order to reassure patients that high satisfaction may be obtained with both saline and silicone implants.”
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