Should You Choose Saline vs. Silicone Implants?

Woman in a white bra holding two implants. (MODEL)

So, you’ve made the monumental decision to have breast augmentation surgery. But there are still more significant decisions ahead, including the age-old question of whether you should choose saline vs. silicone implants.

Not to worry. We’re here to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and goals. Below, let’s walk through some of the key differences between saline and silicone implants.

What Is a Saline Implant?

Saline breast implants have a smooth shell and typically look and feel less natural than their silicone counterparts. After being inserted, they are filled with a sterile saltwater solution. Saline implants require shorter incisions and can be inserted using a transaxillary approach. This technique means that the incisions are hidden in the armpits, and the breasts will not have any scarring.

Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 78 View #1 View in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, NY
Before & After Breast Augmentation With Saline Implants
Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 78 View #3 View in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, NY
Before & After Breast Augmentation With Saline Implants

What Is a Silicone Implant?

Silicone is our most popular type of breast implant for good reason. Silicone closely mimics the look, weight, and feel of natural breasts. These implants are pre-filled with a cohesive gel and require slightly longer incisions. They can be placed either above or below the muscle. Silicone implants are denser and weigh slightly more than saline implants, even though they feel lightweight.

Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 192 View #1 View in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, NY
Before & After Breast Augmentation With Silicone Implants
Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 192 View #4 View in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, NY
Before & After Breast Augmentation With Silicone Implants

Which Implant Lasts the Longest?

While manufacturers typically recommend replacing your breast implants every 10 years, many women keep them for up to 30 years. If you’re satisfied with how they look and feel, there is no medical reason to change or remove them. That said, saline implants may be more prone to rippling and more likely to rupture than silicone implants.

The following signs can indicate that it’s time to remove or replace your breast implants:

  • Hardening, which is often the result of capsular contracture
  • Leaking or deflation, which is usually due to a saline implant rupture
  • Rippling, which may or may not be visible through the skin
  • Sagging or asymmetry due to natural gravity or shifting of implants

Which Implant Material Is the Safest?

Silicone and saline breast implants are both considered extremely safe. While instances of implant rupture are rare, if a saline implant pops, the breast will deflate, and your body will safely absorb the salt water. When a silicone implant leaks, the silicone gel collects within the implant pocket, and the implant will eventually need to be removed. Silicone implants can also cause “silent ruptures” because symptoms aren’t immediately present. Therefore, the FDA recommends that women with silicone breast implants have regular MRI or ultrasound screenings.

Other Factors To Consider…

There is simply no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing breast implant types. Here are some more key factors to consider as you weigh your options:

  • Your lifestyle: How active are you? If you work out frequently, you may prefer silicone vs saline implants. They feel more lightweight and won’t “slosh” during physical activity.
  • Your aesthetic: Every patient has a unique vision and needs. Some patients want dramatic cleavage, while others prefer more natural, subtle results. It’s a matter of preference!
  • Your life stage: Keep in mind that your preferences can change over time. What you desire at the time of your procedure can change in 10 years. If you want to keep your breast implants for as long as possible, think long-term.
  • Your priorities: Identify what is most important to you: size, cost, look, or feel. If you prioritize cost above all else, saline implants are likely the way to go.
  • Shape, profile, and placement: Preferences about your implant shape and placement, as well as how we approach your incisions, may also help guide you toward the best implant material for you.

Experience Matters

Proper guidance is essential when choosing the right breast implants. You should always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can assess your needs and vision and safely deliver your intended results. They should also have keen aesthetic capabilities.

During your consultation, request to view before and after photos featuring actual patient results. Many reputable cosmetic surgery practices also have technologies to help you visualize your desired results. For example, at our practice, we use Crisalix 3-D imaging to help patients view potential breast implant results. In addition, we offer VECTRA®3-D imaging for facial plastic surgery patients.

Schedule a Consultation

Meeting with us is the best way to plan out your aesthetic journey. During your consultation, we will conduct a thorough physical examination, address your breast implant questions and concerns, and recommend solutions that align with your goals. We encourage you to request a consultation using our online form or call us at (718) 720-9400 to arrange an appointment.

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