Silicone vs Saline Breast Implants

Silicone vs Saline Breast Implants
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Breast augmentation is the most popular plastic surgery procedure performed to date, with women around the world benefitting both physically and emotionally from breast enhancement. If you are considering breast augmentation, you will be faced with a number of important choices to make. One of the choices to consider is the implant filler material, i.e. silicone versus saline.

What to consider when choosing an implant:

When facing the choice between silicone and saline implants, there are several factors that should be considered, including age and desired aesthetic. While silicone and saline implants both have their advantages and disadvantages, often one filler material makes more sense for the patient over the other.


Silicone implants are made from a silicone shell filled with soft, elastic gel, giving it the feel and movement of natural breast tissue. Because silicone implants are pre-filled, they may require a larger incision for placement and certain incision locations may make more sense than others. Silicone gel cannot be absorbed into the body, therefore, if a rupture were to occur, a trip to your surgeon would be required immediately in order to have it safely replaced. However, since the gel is not absorbed and instead has a stable consistency which will maintain implant shape, an implant could break without obvious external signs.  Thus, the FDA recommends screening for rupture with an MRI on a regular basis. This type of implant is approved for patients 22 years of age and older.  Because of the thicker consistency of the implant, placing the implant under the pectoral muscle is not required to help camouflage the implant and increasingly women are making the choice with their plastic surgeon to place the implant over the muscle, thus avoiding other side effects.  The choice of implant filler, location of placement and location of incision for placement are all considerations that you will discuss in depth with Dr. Sweat prior to making a decision for surgery.


Saline implants are made with the same silicone shell which is then filled with sterile salt water. With a fluid consistency, “rippling” or “wrinkling” can occur where folds of the implant may be visible and felt under thin skin. These implants can be filled before placement or at the time of the surgery to allow minor adjustments in size. Unlike silicone implants, the saline implant would deflate during a rupture and the saline solution would be safely absorbed into the body.  Thus, a rupture or breakage of the implant is usually obvious and no screening is required to diagnose a rupture.  The breasts will remain two different sizes until the implants are replaced. Placement under the pectoral muscle is virtually always recommended to help camouflage the implant and provide more tissue coverage for a more natural feel.  These implants are FDA approved for patients 18 years of age and older.

If you are considering breast augmentation and would like to learn more about your implant options in Sacramento, contact J. Sweat Plastic Surgery today to schedule a consultation.


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Posted in Breast Augmentation, Breast Implants