Silicone vs. Saline Implants: How Are They Different and Which One Is Best?

  • Silicone implants are known for their natural look and feel, and are soft to the touch
  • Saline implants are firmer, but are also slightly more lightweight and affordable
  • Both types of implants will last between 10 and 20 years
  • Saline implant ruptures are usually harmless, but silicone ruptures can sometimes cause side effects such as swelling, soreness and structural changes to breast tissue
  • Breast augmentation procedures can also be performed with structured silicone implants, gummy bear implants and fat transfers

An important point to consider when preparing for breast augmentation surgery is the question of silicone vs. saline breast implants. Saline implants are lightweight and have an excellent safety profile, while silicone implants have a very natural look and feel. Based in Greenville, SC, our clinic, Advanced Cosmetic Surgery carries a selection of high-quality implants of both kinds.

Your satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us, and we are dedicated to ensuring that whichever type of implant you choose, you receive outstanding care and beautiful results. Read on for a comprehensive view of the benefits and drawbacks of each type. Once you have an understanding of your choices, contact us, and we would be pleased to discuss your options in person.

Key Differences Between Silicone and Saline Implants

Silicone breast implants are prefilled with silicone gel. At our clinic, they are available in both smooth and textured formats, and in a variety of different levels of gel viscosity.

Saline implants consist of a silicone shell filled with a sterile salt water solution. We insert them as empty shells and then pump the saline solution into them once they are in place.

Saline implants have a distinctly round and full appearance, and are quite firm to the touch. Silicone implants have a more natural feel, tend to resemble natural breast tissue more closely in terms of their shape and curvature, and are softer and more malleable in texture. Of the two, silicone implants are approximately 10% heavier.

Implants of both types can rupture and this risk increases over time. On average, saline implants last 10–20 years; silicone implants 20–40 years. Of the two, saline implants are more likely to rupture, as well as be prone to “rippling.” This occurs when the edges or creases of the implant become visible through the skin.

Ideal Candidates

Both saline and silicone implants can effectively add fullness, lift and contour flat or sagging breast tissue, reduce asymmetry and enhance cleavage. If you are over the age of 20, in good overall health and do not have any chronic illnesses, you would be a strong candidate for breast augmentation with either type.

As a general rule, particularly thin patients tend to achieve better results with silicone implants: An implant’s shape is more visible with patients who have little body fat, making the natural look of silicone implants a better choice for these patients.

To achieve the best possible results and ensure a smooth recovery, it is best if you do not smoke or consume large quantities of alcohol.

Implants can be inserted as  part of a breast lift, a breast reconstruction procedure following breast cancer surgery or for a “mommy makeover.” These makeovers are designed to rejuvenate the body after pregnancy and breastfeeding. It typically includes liposuction, a tummy tuck and some form of breast surgery – either reduction or augmentation.

Safety Comparison

Saline and silicone implant ruptures carry different levels of risk. When saline implants rupture, the salt water solution is safely absorbed by the body.

With silicone implant ruptures, any gel that leaks out will remain trapped within the tissue without being absorbed by the body leading to soreness, swelling and changes to the shape and texture of the breast tissue. As such, ruptured silicone implants do not noticeably deflate, making ruptures difficult to detect visually.

That being said, routine mammograms are generally quite effective at detecting implant ruptures as are ultrasounds. Overall, health concerns due to ruptures of either type of breast implant are very rare.

Other Alternatives

If you decide that standard silicone and saline implants are not right for you, there are other options for you to consider:

  • Structured saline implants: As with standard saline implants, they are filled with a salt water solution, however, this solution is contained within a multishell structure that enables a natural shape and contour. Our clinic offers Ideal Implant saline implants.  
  • Gummy bear implants: Contain a thicker silicone gel than standard silicone implants which are firmer to the touch and will retain their shape even if their outer shell is ruptured. They are rounded at the bottom and tapered near the top, giving them a particularly natural-looking teardrop shaped appearance.
  • Fat transfers: Involve removing fat from other parts of your body and reinjecting them into your breasts. This procedure is a strong choice if you are looking for a relatively slight increase in size.

The Bottom Line

When choosing between saline and silicone gel implants, there are a number of factors to consider. If you’re still undecided, we would be pleased to help you review your options.

Get in touch with us, and let’s talk through all your questions and concerns. We’re here to support you, put your mind at ease and ensure that whatever you decide, you receive cosmetic care of the highest order.

ConsultBook Your ConsultationSign up now to talk to us!
Call Us