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What’s the difference between saline and silicone breast implants?

Question posted by Rachel B from Newport Beach

I’m considering a boob job and was wondering whats the difference between silicone implants and saline implants? Which one is better? Which one is more natural?

Doctor's Response

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2 thoughts on “What’s the difference between saline and silicone breast implants?

  • Thank you for your clinical question.  Saline implants have been available for
    breast implant surgery for over 40 years. 
    A saline implant has a hard silastic shell that is filled with salt
    water, also called saline.  Physiologic
    saline is the same solution that circulates in your blood.  Saline can hold out the shape of the breast
    implant, but is prone to ripples or visible edges that can be seen through
    skin, implant deflation, the risk is about 2% per year per breast and does not
    feel as natural as the cohesive silicone gel implant.  Saline implants can come in round or tear
    drop shapes and various sizes and can be placed in the breast pocket, which is
    either under the gland or under the muscle through the armpit, through the
    areola, under the breast or through the belly button.

    A silicone implant is a hard silastic breast implant shell,
    but the fill of the implant itself is a very cohesive silicone polymer.  The silicone polymer is much like Jell-o also
    called a gummy bear breast implant.  The
    advantage of the silicone gel implant is they feel much more natural, do not
    tend to ripple and do not leak.  The
    breast implant is usually placed through an under the breast incision called
    the inframammary incision that can be placed in the subglandular or the
    submuscular pocket.  Silicone cohesive
    gel implants also come in teardrop and round shapes, textured and smooth.

    Breast augmentation is one of the most common cosmetic
    surgeries performed and women are generally extremely happy following the
    procedure.  I have always offered
    three-dimensional computer imaging which is a very accurate photo station that
    allows you to simply press a button and see what your breast shape, size and
    contour will look like in relation to your chest, waist and hip.  This “try before you buy” virtually
    eliminates patients who are then dissatisfied with the breast implant size and
    shape that was selected.

    I have been performing breast augmentation for almost 20
    years and find patients who are extremely happy with a carefully planned out
    consultation and procedure.

    These procedures are usually performed in approximately one
    hour.  Recovery time can be as little as
    3 days and procedures can be performed under IV sedation.

    I hope this information has been of some assistance and best
    of luck.

    For more information, please review the breast augmentation page.

    To schedule a consultation simply fill out the online
    consultation request form and a customer service representative will be with
    your promptly.

    R. Stephen Mulholland, M.D. Certified Plastic Surgeon. Yorkville, Toronto


  • Transcribed from video attached:
    All breast implants come with a silicone shell, so when we talk about the difference between saline and silicone implants, we’re really talking about what’s inside the implants. A saline implant is filled with water, or saline, which is actually salt-water. A silicone implant is filled with silicone jelly, but the shell of both of them is still a silicone shell. The real difference between them is just in how they feel. The silicone feels a little bit more natural than the saline implants, but both of them have pros and cons. This is something you can discuss with your surgeon and find out which works best for you.

Additional Information

Breast Augmentation (Augmentation, Mammaplasty, Breast Enlargement or Breast Implants)

Read about the procedure

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