Breast Implants

Silicone vs. Saline: Are They Really That Different?

Silicone vs. Saline

Breast implants have been manufactured using the two very different materials of saline and silicone since the early 1960s. Saline implants surged in popularity during the 1990s, but today, the majority of women seeking breast augmentation choose silicone implants. Since saline and silicone implants can both offer great results, are the differences really that major?

Advantages to Both

Silicone and saline implants each have their own advantages. Silicone implants arrive pre-filled with silicone gel that better mimics the look and feel of natural breast tissue. Saline implants contain sterile saltwater and can be filled after the shell is placed into the breast pocket. Saline may look more dramatic, feel firmer and have wrinkles or ripples than can be seen through your skin.

Because saline implants can be filled in place, your plastic surgeon can use a smaller incision. Saline implants may also be better suited for a wider range of incision types than silicone implants, which require a slightly larger incision.

Silicone and saline implants also differ in price, with saline being the slightly less expensive option.

Looking at the Long Run

Both silicone and saline breast implants require a certain amount of maintenance after augmentation. Although ruptures aren’t all that common in today’s advanced implant designs, saline implant leaks are more easily detected because the implant typically deflates within a few days, causing a noticeable change in volume. Silicone gel leaks can be more difficult to detect. The FDA recommends MRI screenings 3 years after breast enhancement, then every 2 years to look for possible ruptures.

Long-term, though, both saline and silicone implants share the same low rate of complications. Ultimately, an experienced plastic surgeon who specializes in breast augmentation can help you decide if saline or silicone implants are right for you.

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March 30, 2016
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