Expert Contribution

Saline vs. Silicone Implants

As a cosmetic surgeon, I’ve done my fair share of breast augmentations over the years. And while fat transfer is a great option for someone who doesn’t want a breast implant, the vast majority of the breast enhancements I have performed have been achieved with silicone implants, and to a much lesser extent, saline implants. Both are good options, and many patients who come in for a consultation want to discuss the pros and cons of each. 

Saline implants have been around since the 1960s. They have an outer shell made of silicone, and it is inserted empty. It’s then filled with sterile salt water. Because the saline implant is first inserted while deflated, the incision is usually slightly smaller than the one for a silicone implant. Saline implants are FDA-approved for women who are 18 years old and up. 

Saline implants are generally a bit less expensive than silicone ones. However, saline implants aren’t always favorable in terms of how they feel once they’ve been implanted. Some patients say they can feel the fluid moving around with movement. Others say that saline implants are more noticeable, as they at times can have a rippling effect on the skin. 

Silicone implants are made of silicone, through and through. This means these implants are prefilled with silicone gel prior to me inserting them during a breast augmentation procedure. After many years of working with silicone implants I have developed surgical approaches that help make the slightly larger incision more inconspicuous and easily concealable. Silicone implants are FDA-approved for women who are 22 years old and up. 

Due to the gel-like consistency of the silicone implants, most patients (and their spouses or partners) say they feel a lot like the natural fatty tissue of breasts. I also believe that smooth, round, silicone implants placed behind the muscle look and feel the most natural. Putting them behind the muscle puts more tissue between the outside world and the implant and creates a cushion over it. 

For any type of implant, there is a remote possibility for one to pop. If a saline implant deflates, the breast goes flat and the saline is naturally absorbed into the body. If a silicone implant ruptures, the gel more or less sticks together, but the breast may take an odd shape. Both situations are rare and easily correctable, but I recommend to all of my augmentation patients that they periodically come in for a follow-up exam to identify infrequent issues early on. 

So which implant do I think is better? In my opinion, silicone implants are better. Silicone implants are softer and show the edge of the implant less than a saline implant. Most of my patients feel the same. In fact, virtually all my patients select silicone implants after they come in for a consult. 

If you are interested in learning more about our breast augmentation surgery or any of our many other surgical and non-surgical procedures, please call our office at 925-736-5757. We look forward to hearing from you! 

About The Author

Cosmetic Surgery
Blackhawk Plastic Surgery and MedSpa
Blackhawk Plastic Surgery and MedSpa

Blackhawk Plastic Surgery has been offering their patients the highest quality cosmetic treatments in the Blackhawk area for more than 15 years. Now they are thrilled to introduce the Blackhawk Migraine Clinic led by migraine specialist, Alicia Choquette. Alicia brings over 5 years of migraine expertise to the Blackhawk Migraine Clinic and looks forward to helping patients live a better quality of life migraine free.

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