Silicone vs Saline Breast Implants Breast Augmentation in Houston TX

Speaker 1: Now to a health alert. This month the FDA declared silicone breast implants safe, potentially ending the decades-long debate of silicone versus saline. The risks of rupturing, hardening, scarring, pain, and infection led to a 14-year moratorium on silicone. But tonight, Local 2's Rachel McNeill takes a look at the FDA's latest findings, and what that means for women looking to enhance their appearance.

Rachel McNeill: ... Top Houston plastic surgeon, places a couple hundred breast implants every year in women in this city. It's no wonder Houston is the birthplace of the breast implant, and in 1995, was dubbed "Silicone City" by Texas Monthly. 

Dr. Rose: Houston actually performs more breast augmentation with silicone gel-filled implants per capita than anywhere in the world.

Rachel McNeill: Dr. Franklin Rose studied under the inventors of the implants, and for decades has been embroiled in the controversy over the risk of silicone implants.

Dr. Rose: This biomedical device is the most well-studied biomedical device in the history of humankind.

Rachel McNeill: This month the FDA put its stamp of approval on silicone implants, saying they are safe, but urging manufacturers to do a better job of following patients.

B.  Doughty: You know I'd wanted it since I was 16 years old.

Rachel McNeill: Wife and mom Barbara Doughty has had her silicone implants for six years. 

B.  Doughty: I just wanted to look better in my clothes, and also in swimsuits.

Rachel McNeill: She says she researched for a year before deciding to go from an A to C.

B.  Doughty: Well, it was really a no-brainer for me. I felt both of them, and when you feel them, the saline feels ... You feel the bag more. With the silicone, it's much more viscous.

Rachel McNeill: Barbara's doctor, Anthony Nikko, counsels patients on the difference between silicone and saline implants.

Dr. Nikko: It's obvious that the memory gel, or the silicone gel, it's a better implant than the saline. It feels more natural, there's less rippling with the memory gel, and so it gives you a softer look.

Rachel McNeill: The silicone implant has come a long way from its original version. Once a liquid, it's now a gel, more like the consistency of a gummy bear.

Both surgeons say they often see women looking to trade in their saline implants for silicone, and now with the FDA ruling, they expect to see even more.

Dr. Nikko: Is it possible that we could find something 10 years down the line that we don't know today? Of course, anything is possible, but based on what we know, based on data, it is a safe device.

Rachel McNeill: Rachel McNeill, KPRC Local 2.

Speaker 1: Now silicone implants can cost about $1,000 more than saline implants. While just officially declaring them safe this month, the FDA lifted its 14-year moratorium on silicone in 2006.