Silicone vs. Saline Breast Implants: Which Are Right for You?

A woman holds saline and silicone implant options in her hands.

Among the choices that breast augmentation patients make at our Burbank, CA, plastic surgery practice is the type of breast implants they want. The options include implants filled with saline (sterile saltwater) or cohesive silicone gel. Most patients choose silicone implants, but that doesn’t mean that’s the right choice for you.

In this blog post, we’ll describe the advantages and limitations of each type of implant. We hope this information helps make your breast augmentation decisions more straightforward.

What’s the Difference Between Saline and Silicone Implants?

All breast implants have a silicone outer shell filled with either saline or cohesive silicone gel. Patients who handle implants during consultations notice a different feel for each. Some think the silicone gel feels more like natural breast tissue, while others believe the saline implants are softer and more natural. There is no right or wrong answer; the choice is one of personal preference.

Benefits of Saline Implants

Unlike silicone gel implants, saline implants are inserted into the breast before they are filled. This enables the surgeons to make slightly smaller incisions than they do for silicone implants and allows for a bit more flexibility with the size of each implant.

Another factor to consider is that if an implant ruptures, women with saline implants will know immediately because the breast will appear deflated. The saline solution is biocompatible, meaning the body naturally absorbs it without posing any health risk.

Additionally, saline implants typically cost less than silicone implants.

Benefits of Silicone Gel Implants

The newer generations of silicone gel implants offer patients a range of options because the gel varies in cohesiveness. Some, such as so-called “gummy bear” breast implants, are filled with highly cohesive silicone gel that remains intact even if the implant is cut in half. The differences give patients the chance to customize their choices more than ever.

A crack or rupture in a silicone gel implant, however, isn’t possible to detect without an MRI or ultrasound because the implant retains its shape. Sometimes patients are put off by the uncertainty of this, and for them, saline is often the better choice.

Both options can create beautiful results, as you can see in our gallery of before and after pictures. But the consensus among patients and plastic surgeons is that silicone gel implants feel more like natural breasts. They also are less likely to have visible rippling than saline implants. Rippling typically occurs if the implants are placed in front of the chest muscle (subglandular placement). That’s why I recommend placing implants under the muscle. This location not only camouflages the edges of the breast implants more effectively, but it also looks and feels more natural in the majority of cases.

If you’re considering breast augmentation and want to learn more about your choice of breast implants at our Burbank practice, request a consultation using the online form or call us at (818) 500-0823 to schedule an appointment. I look forward to meeting with you.

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