Saline vs. Silicone Breast Implants

This article provides information to help you understand the differences between saline and silicone breast implants. We discuss how saline and silicone breast implants can affect the look and feel of your breasts, as well as the degree of scarring. We cover the difference in breast augmentation cost and rupture or leak potential. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each type of breast implant and how our surgeons can help guide you in making the best choice for your individual needs.

Implant type is one of a few decisions that you will have to make in advance of breast augmentation. There are currently two types of implants available in the United States – saline and silicone. Continue reading below to learn more about the difference between silicone and saline implants.

Saline vs. Silicone: What’s the difference?

Both saline and silicone breast implants are contained within a solid silicone shell; the difference is what’s inside.

Saline breast implantsSaline implants contain sterile salt water. They’re typically inserted empty, then filled once they’ve been surgically placed.

Silicone breast implantsSilicone implants come pre-filled with silicone gel – a cohesive fluid that is the consistency somewhat like Jello and resembles the feeling of human fat.

Look and Feel

Some people find the silicone implants to have a more aesthetic outcome, compared to saline. Silicone breast implants have a reputation for providing a look and feel that is more similar to breasts that are not surgically augmented. Additionally, silicone implants are softer and less prone to rippling, so they can be an appealing choice for those who have little natural breast tissue to cover their implants.

Degree of Scarring

Because saline implants are often filled at the time of surgery, they require slightly smaller incisions than silicone implants. There is also more versatility when it comes to incision placement. There is also more versatility when it comes to incision placement. Unlike silicone implants, which can only be placed through an incision along the armpit (transaxillary incision) or at the breast fold (inframammary incision), saline implants may also be inserted through an incision made along the border of the areola (periareolar incision), or rarely, through an incision made through the navel (TUBA incision).

Implant Ruptures

Breast implants are not designed to be lifetime devices. It’s possible that you will require revision surgery in the future. Review our FAQ page to learn more about the longevity of implants and potential leaks or ruptures.

Breast Implant Cost

As a general rule, breast implant manufactures charge approximately $1,000 more for silicone breast implants. As a result, breast augmentation using silicone implants is somewhat more expensive. Additionally, because of the FDA recommendation that silicone implant recipients receive regular MRIs to detect the presence of a silent rupture, they may also be more expensive in the long run if you choose to follow that recommendation.

Making the Choice

Choosing an implant type based on the advantages and disadvantages can be an overwhelming process. Our surgeons are more than happy to help guide you through this decision-making process.