Silicone vs. Saline Implants: Which is Right for You?

posted on:
April 30th, 2024
posted by:
Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

Breast augmentation procedures are among the most popular plastic surgeries worldwide. According to statistics, over 250,000 breast augmentation procedures were performed by ASPS Member Surgeons in the USA in 2022 alone. We expect this number to continue increasing as technology advances.

Whether you want to correct uneven breasts or enhance the overall appearance, this is a safe, highly effective procedure that will help you get one step closer to your aesthetic goals. However, before scheduling a consultation with a board-certified surgeon, it’s best to consider the pros and cons of the most popular implant options.

Two of the most popular implants are saline and silicone. Both saline vs. silicone implants have their advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between saline vs. silicone breast implants so you can decide which type is right for you.

Saline implants

Saline implants have an outer shell made of silicone and are filled with a saline solution. These implants are inserted empty and placed with a small surgical incision, typically at the belly button or armpit. Once the implant has been inserted, salt water is added to the implant. This process leads to minimal to no scarring. The saline material is also considered safe and harmless. So, if the implant ruptures, the filling can be naturally absorbed by the body.

Saline implants are also easier to adjust if you don’t like the finished results. A plastic surgeon can easily increase or decrease the volume by inserting a syringe at the injection site.

Saline implants are much firmer and rounder than silicone implants, which is something to consider if your goal is to achieve a natural-looking finish. However, the cost for silicone vs. saline implants is typically higher. You are also more susceptible to a silent rupture. When comparing saline vs. silicone implants, it’s best to consider your budget, aesthetic goals, and desired appearance.

Silicone Implants

Silicone implants are made with a silicone gel filling that resembles the look and feel of “real” breasts. A surgeon will make a small incision under the breast to place the implant. The scar may be noticeable at first but will fade over time after the procedure.

Silicone implants are commonly referred to as gummy bear implants because they have a gummier and bouncier feel. Patients find that the gummy texture makes these breast implants more comfortable and lightweight. Silicone implants are also more likely to maintain their shape and volume throughout the years.

Silicone vs. Saline Implants

Which Looks and Feels More Natural, Silicone or Saline Implants?

Silicone implants look and feel more natural than saline implants. They have a more “gummy bear” texture that resembles natural breasts.

Patients find silicone implants are more likely to maintain their shape over the years and have a more natural appearance. While saline implants are rounder and don’t jiggle as much. The implants are more susceptible to rotations and moving, impacting the overall appearance over time. Over time, saline implants can also start to wrinkle or ripple, which can show through the skin.

Are Silicone Implants Safer Than Saline?

Both silicone and saline implants are considered generally safe. If you’re interested in a breast augmentation procedure, you must get the procedure done with a board-certified surgeon.

Many believe saline implants are a slightly safer alternative because the saline material can be reabsorbed into the body if you have a rupture. However, studies suggest that silicone implants don’t hurt the body.

Before the procedure, it’s best to consult a board-certified surgeon to discuss the different breast augmentation options. Depending on your desired results, they will help you decide which type of implant is best for you.

Which Costs More, Silicone or Saline Implants?

Silicone implants are more expensive than saline implants. You can expect to pay around $1,000-$2,000 more in upfront costs for the procedure.

If a breast implant ruptures, you’ll need to pay a higher cost to get the silicone implant replaced than your saline implants. However, many patients prefer the natural look and feel of silicone over saline implants. When comparing the costs between silicone vs. saline implants, consider your aesthetic goals and how much you are willing to invest. If you’re willing to spend more, you may find that the silicone implants are worth the cost.

Which Lasts Longer, Silicone or Saline Implants?

Neither are permanent options. It’s generally recommended you replace your saline or silicone implants every eight to 10 years.

However, many patients find that silicone implants last longer than saline implants. This is because saline implants are more prone to ruptures. It’s best to have your implants checked by your plastic surgeon every five years. Your plastic surgeon will look for signs of rupture and determine if your implants should be replaced or removed.

Making the Decision - The Importance of Consultation

When comparing silicone vs. saline implants, you’ll find that both procedures are great choices to consider for your breast augmentation. Whether you want to increase the size of your breasts or correct asymmetry. Breast implants are a great choice for enhancing your natural appearance.

The most important part of your breast augmentation procedure is to make sure you have a professional plastic surgeon like Dr. Bell on your side. Dr. Bell will provide you with tailored advice and expert care. During a consultation, he’ll discuss the different options available.

Schedule a consultation today to get started.


What Happens When Silicone or Saline Implants Rupture?

If your silicone or saline implants rupture, you may experience pain, swelling, or bruising. A plastic surgeon will likely recommend replacing or removing the breast implants. If you decide you no longer want your breast implants, a plastic surgeon may recommend a breast lift to help you achieve your desired appearance after removal.

Posted by:

Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

Dr. Thomas Bell has been one of Canada’s most renowned cosmetic surgeons for 35 years. He prides his excellence on the harmonious balance of vision, aesthetic appearance, and patient care.

More on Dr. Bell

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