Silicone or Saline Breast Implants: Which Is Best?

Are you considering breast augmentation surgery? If so, one of the most important decisions you will make is choosing the type of implant you want. There are two main alternatives to choose from: silicone and saline.


Saline Implants


Saline implants have been around since the 1960s. They have a silicone outer shell inserted empty and then filled with sterile salt water. One advantage of saline implants is that they often result in a smaller and less noticeable scar. They are also typically less expensive than silicone.


Yet, one drawback of saline implants is a firmer feel than natural breast tissue. Also, there is the potential for visible rippling or wrinkling of the implant. Fortunately, you can choose baffled saline implants. They distribute water into separate chambers and may reduce some of the sloshing and rippling.


Silicone Implants


Silicone implants, made entirely of silicone, have a silicone shell filled with silicone gel. They come in various sizes and shapes; some are more cohesive or firmer than others. People sometimes refer to them as gummy bear implants. Many people feel silicone implants look more natural than saline implants.

One potential drawback of silicone implants is that they pose more risk if rupturing. They require regular checkups with MRIs every few years. They are ideal for those over 22, except for exceptional circumstances like breast reconstruction.


Comparison of Implants


The safety of silicone and saline breast implants depends on the surgeon’s expertise. Saline implants may appear safer because the body can reabsorb the saltwater if they rupture. Also, a rupture is immediately noticeable.

Some studies link silicone implants to autoimmune diseases. Those with autoimmune disorders should consider avoiding implants altogether. Breast implant illness is a range of medical problems some experience after receiving implants. Anecdotal evidence suggests removal can help alleviate symptoms.

When comparing the two types of implants, there are several factors to consider:


How They Feel


Silicone implants feel like natural breast tissue and are soft to the touch. Saline implants are usually firmer, but the body can safely absorb the saline solution in case of a rupture.


How They Look


Saline implants tend to have a firmer and rounder look. Silicone implants have a more natural shape and hang with the proper curvature.


Incisions Required for Augmentation


Silicone implants are full of gel before insertion. So, they require a larger incision than saline implants, filled after insertion.




Both silicone and saline implants are durable and last as long as the other when implanted simultaneously.


Implant Ruptures


Both types of implants have the potential to rupture. However, a rupture in a silicone implant poses a higher risk of complications than saline implants.




Ultimately, the decision of which type of implant to choose requires the guidance of a board-certified plastic surgeon. They can help you understand the pros and cons of each type of implant.


That will help you determine which option best suits your individual needs and desired results. Remember to choose a reputable surgeon and follow their recommendations for checkups and maintenance after surgery.

For more on silicone and saline breast implants, visit Aron Kressel, MD, at our New York, NY, office. Call 212-772-6968 to schedule an appointment today.

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