Silicone Vs. Saline Implants: Which Do I Want?

posted on:
June 30th, 2021
posted by:
Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

What is the best type of breast implant for you? The one that has been carefully selected to meet your needs!

We often say that we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all or cookie-cutter solutions in the world of plastic surgery. The best results come from detailed conversations and custom solutions. When someone comes to our Toronto plastic surgery clinic for breast implants, we’re sure to explore all possible options.

Invariably, the conversation will turn to silicone vs saline implants. Sometimes our clients will have done a bit of research ahead of our meeting. Sometimes they’re coming in fresh. In either case, we will have a deep discussion about each type of breast implant to ensure we choose the one that will best suit their specific goals.

This blog will give you an abbreviated version of those discussions. Of course, we always prefer to meet with you in person, or through a one-on-one secure video call. But this should give you a good primer to begin our talks.

Silicone vs Saline: At a Glance

Here is a brief look at each type of breast implant. This is just a high-level overview, but it will hit on many of the key points you will want to consider.

Silicone Implants

Of the many different types of breast implants on the market today, it’s safe to say that silicone breast implants are the most in-demand, for a number of reasons.

They are pre-filled with semi-solid silicone gel. This cohesive fluid is the key to silicone implants feeling the most natural and the most breast-like. It’s designed to closely mimic the way human breast fat feels and moves. Your surgeon will skillfully insert each implant through an under-the-breast incisional approach, called the IMF, or infra-mammary fold incision.

You may have also heard silicone breast implants called gummy bear implants. That’s because they have a silicone shell and cohesive silicone gel filling that makes them supple and give them the ability to bounce back.

Saline Implants

On the other hand, saline breast implants are comprised of a silicone outer lining, with a sterile saltwater (saline) solution interior. Surgeons tend to insert the implants empty and then fill them with the saltwater once it is surgically placed through the armpit, or the areola. Patients like this because it can lead to smaller incisions.

Which one is better? That’s a matter of opinion, and we will explore the pros and cons in the next few sections.

Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants: Which Looks and Feels More Natural?

This is the most important question for women looking to enhance their silhouettes, while still maintaining a natural look.

If this is your top priority, you are probably going to gravitate towards silicone breast implants or gummy bear implants. They are designed and engineered to look, feel, and move as naturally as possible.

Our Dr. Bell prefers the smooth shell cohesive gel implants, and that’s the only type he uses. He does not use textured shell implants, and has not used them in several years. We feel his outcomes certainly speak for themselves.

As natural as they look and feel, the real genius is in the way they move. Silicone implants are designed to change shape, depending on your position in space and gravity. The implant will shift down when you’re standing to create the classic tear-dropped shape. On the other hand, the shape will become more rounded when you’re horizontal or lying down. Saline breast implants can’t really offer the same natural look or movement.

Of course, there are other factors that determine how natural your breast implants will look. Your plastic surgeon’s skill and experience levels are always going to be crucial. It doesn’t matter if you choose silicone or saline, you’re not going to be happy with the results if your surgeon doesn’t have the experience and expertise needed to help you choose the perfect size and placement.

Choosing the Perfect Size

How big is too big? How subtle is too subtle? If you’re not an expert on breast implant sizes and shapes, that’s OK. We are! Our surgeons know how to match your implants’ size to complement your unique body, shape, and goals.

To give you a good idea of how a given size will look on your frame, our surgeons use Vectra 3D technology. This gives you an opportunity to try before you buy, so to speak, and we strongly believe this is crucial to achieving the best outcomes. You get a very accurate representation of what you can achieve post-operatively.

There are dozens of factors that influence your ideal breast implant size, which could include your unique:

  •   Shoulder width/broadness
  •   Pelvic inlet
  •   Desired shoulder-breast-waist-hip ratio

The relative base width to the breast gland and chest wall, the external notch nipple-areolar complex, the elasticity of the tissue, the thinness of the chest wall and the pocket over the breast implant wall will determine the height, base width and projection.

As you can see, this decision involves much more than simply saying you’re X feet tall and Y pounds, so you should get Z-sized implants. Individual attention, detailed discussions, and customized plans always lead to the best results.

Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants: Which are More Durable?

This is another area where cohesive gel implants are exceptional. They have a lifetime warranty provided by the manufacturer. They also do not leak or ripple.

Saline breast implants, on the other hand, have been known to leak, rupture, or ripple. They are only warrantied for 10 years, so you will likely want to replace them before then. This is why a lot of women that started with saline implants will switch over to silicone breast implants when those 10 years are up. They’re looking to get more long-term value from their investment.

A lot of the women that come to us for breast augmentation surgery in Toronto want to change their body contours, without giving up their favourite hobbies like skiing, kayaking, running, yoga, or lifting weights. Modern silicone breast implants are perfect for women that live an active lifestyle. The actual implants are incredibly durable and designed to move with your body as you exercise. Of course, you will want a very supportive and high-quality sports bra.

So, if you’re debating silicone or saline, this is a big consideration.

Alternatives to Breast Implants

If you’re looking to add curves to your silhouette, but you don’t love the idea of a foreign device, you certainly have options.

Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation

What better way to add natural volume to your breasts than using your body’s own fat cells?

The fat transfer breast augmentation procedure is exactly what it sounds like. You’re harvesting the fat from an area of your body, typically somewhere you wouldn’t mind losing it (thighs or core, most often), and then transplanting it into your breasts to add volume or restore the shape.

This is done with leading-edge energy-assisted liposuction devices that will extract the harvested fat safely, while keeping it perfectly intact and suitable for transplantation. It is basically the same idea as the famous Brazilian butt lift procedure, only for the breasts.

The results aren’t quite as controllable or predictable as a traditional breast implant procedure, but you can expect to achieve between a ½ cup to ¾ cup size improvement in only 90 minutes. The recovery time is also relatively fast and easily manageable.

The results are designed to last a lifetime, as long as the patient is able to stay as close to their current weight as possible.

Fat grafting can also be combined with breast implants. It has been used to correct some rippling that may sometimes happen with saline breast implants after a few years.

Breast Lift Procedure

You could also see fantastic results from a breast lift. This procedure has really grown in popularity over the last 20 years, as the number of procedures performed in 2020 was up an amazing 65% from the year 2020.

This is a very popular procedure among older women, and women that have had children, to help them restore a youthful and firm body shape.

Also called a mastopexy, a breast lift is designed to address sagging or drooping breast tissue. Your surgeon will skillfully remove excess fat and skin to restore a more youthful and perky appearance.

This procedure can also help you address sagging in large breasts that may cause you some very uncomfortable sweating, pain, and irritation. A breast lift will literally take the weight off of your chest and your skin, leaving it less prone to chafing.

It can also be combined with a breast implant procedure to give you some amazing results.

The Mommy Makeover

The Mommy Makeover procedure can be customized to include whatever procedures you feel can help you regain your pre-baby body.

This can include things like:

  •   Liposuction
  •   A tummy tuck
  •   Breast implants
  •   Breast lift
  •   Fat grafting

Women can see, and feel, their bodies starting to sag after having children. Their breasts begin to droop, their nipples may point downward, and their areolae may have stretched in size. At the same time, they may also be dealing with unwanted fat/ skin around their stomach, hips, and lower back areas.

The Mommy Makeover can help you address these issues by targeting multiple parts of the body, giving you a firmer and more youthful contour.

How Much are Breast Implants?

There are a lot of different factors that impact the cost of any given plastic surgery. But generally speaking, here is an idea of what our breast procedures may cost:

  •   Breast lift starts at $9,999
  •   Breast augmentation starts at $7,999
  •   Fat transfer breast augmentation starts at $9,999
  •   Breast Lift with implants starts at $15,999
  •   The Mommy Makeover starts at $16,999

We also offer procedure financing options to make things even more affordable. You don’t need to simply daydream! You should never let costs get in the way of getting the dream body you’ve always wanted. You owe it to yourself to at least see what’s possible. Making it a reality can be easier than you think.

How to Choose a Breast Implant Surgeon

The surgeon you choose is an incredibly important decision, and one that will have a direct impact on your results. It’s always a good idea to start by browsing any given surgeon’s breast implant before and after pictures to get a sense of their work.

At the end of the day, there is really no substitute for experience and reputation. And we’re proud to say that we have one of Canada’s most prolific and respected plastic surgeons working in our clinic.

Dr. Bell has performed more than 5,000 breast procedures, liposuction procedures, tummy tucks, and other surgeries. He has also been recognized internationally by W Magazine as Canada’s top cosmetic surgeon.

Let’s Talk About Your Options and Your Goals

We hope you found this blog helpful. But this is really just the start of your journey. The next step is to meet with one of our experts to choose the right breast augmentation procedure by going over your specific needs.

If you’re ready to see what’s possible, we’re ready to show it to you. You can start right now by clicking the Schedule a Consultation button at the top of the screen, or calling 647-723-3739.

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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