Updated; July 22, 2023
By the team we reach the year 2025, the market of breast implants is expected to exceed 4.6 billion dollars. This is due to the exponential growth of not only social media but also the normalization of plastic surgery. The reasons why women choose to get breast implants are varied but of course, the popularity continues to rise year after year. Women want to have perky, beautiful breasts and this is achieved by either getting silicone or saline implants.
Out of all the women who get breast implants, 48.5% are between the ages of 19-34 years. Whether you’re 22 or 54, they all need to decide between saline vs silicone implants.
Many women wonder what the difference is between saline breast implants and silicone implants. Keep reading as we share with you everything you need to know about saline and silicone breast implants.
Saline vs Silicone Implants: The Basics
The material in each implant is different. It’s important to know what each type of implant is made from before you decide which is best for you. This decision is going to be one of the biggest factors in your road to beautiful breasts.
Saline Breast Implants
Saline implants have silicone shells that are filled with sterile salt water (saline). Some saline implants are pre-filled while others are filled during your implant operation.
Silicone Breast Implants
Like saline implants, silicone shells are made from silicone. They’re then filled with a gel also made of silicone. Both saline and silicone implants come in a variety of different sizes. Their shells are either smooth or textured.
Cost of Implants
When searching for a plastic surgeon, never choose a doctor simply because they are the least expensive. You should treat breast augmentation as an investment in yourself and understand the costs associated with the surgery. Going with the cheapest option is not always the best. You should focus on finding the best plastic surgeons in LA and surrounding areas.
The Pros of Saline Breast Implants
Women with a larger amount of natural breast tissue are good candidates for saline implants. That’s because saline implants can show rippling in women with very small breasts.
Rippling can be minimized by overfilling the implant, however, you may end up with a firmer feeling breast. The more natural breast tissue you have, the less chance rippling will occur, even without overfilling the implant.
Women Under 22 Are Approved for Saline Implants
Those under 22 also choose saline because they’re FDA approved for those aged 18 and up. This is due to the regulatory history rather than safety concerns.
No MRI Required
Women also choose saline implants because the current recommendation for women with silicone implants is to get a routine MRI scan every two to three years to monitor for possible rupturing. While it’s not mandatory, it’s highly recommended. While saline can rupture, it’s evident that the implant will deflate. However, the saline is safely absorbed by your body.
Saline Implants Are More Budget-Friendly
Saline implants are more budget-friendly. They tend to cost about a thousand dollars less than silicone.
Look and Feel of Saline Implants
Saline implants, because they are generally overfilled to reduce the risk of rippling, feel more firm than silicone implants. They often look more “ball-like” in women with small breasts.
Saline implants are filled once they’re in place. This allows for a smaller incision than with silicone implants. A smaller incision means less noticeable scarring.
The Pros of Silicone Implants
It’s no secret that silicone breast implants are the gold-standard when it comes to breast augmentation. The best plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills will always recommend that their patients go with silicone implants if they’re looking for a natural look. The gel inside of the implants provide a feeling that is far more closely aligned with natural breast tissue than saline implants. There is also less of a chance of wrinkling or rippling with silicone.
They’re also best for the following women:
- Very thin women
- Those with very little or no natural breast tissue
- Post-mastectomy breast reconstruction candidates
Silicone Implants Look & Feel More Natural
The end result is a natural looking and natural feeling breast. There is no noticeable firmness that saline implants often have. Even women who do have larger amounts of breast tissue to work with often prefer silicone vs saline due to the natural look and feel. Silicone implants are also slightlly lighter than saline implants. They also may have more options than saline when it comes to profile, size, and shape.
The Downside of Silicone Implants
Unless you get special permission from your surgeon, you must be at least 22 years of age to get silicone implants. It’s easy to tell if a saline implant ruptures and it’s not a safety issue. However, with silicone implants, it’s much more difficult to detect a rupture. You may not notice any symptoms for months or even years. And if you don’t go for regularly scheduled MRI’s, you may never notice.
The freed silicone can remain trapped in the fibrous capsule that forms around your implant after surgery. While leaking silicone is not linked to an increased risk of health problems, you may notice breast pain or changes in the shape or contour of your breast.
Risks of Breast Implants
Whether you choose silicone or saline breast implants, they both come with similar risks such as:
- Scar tissue forming and hardening
Feeling pain in your breast is also common after surgery. However, it should go away with time.
If you notice an infection, bleeding or are in serious pain, contact your doctor immediately.
Lack of Sensation and Ruptures
Some women experience changes in the sensations they feel in their nipples and breasts. However, most of the time the lack of sensations are only temporary.
And, as we’ve discussed, your implant could leak or rupture at any time. You may require additional surgery to correct any of these complications. That may mean either replacing or removing the implants entirely.
Things to Consider Before You Get Breast Implants
It’s important to note that there is ongoing research pertaining to the safety and effectiveness of both types of implants. Both are currently considered safe by the FDA for both breast reconstructions and augmentations.
However, while implants can help improve the look and feel of your breasts, gravity will still take over. Implants won’t prevent breasts from sagging. You may also want to consider having a breast lift done at the same time.
Not Guaranteed to Last
Implants aren’t guaranteed to last you for the rest of your life. They may rupture. It’s also possible for your breasts to continue changing after you’ve had the surgery. Especially if you lose or gain weight and/or give birth.
Possible Complications with Breast Feeding and Mammograms
Also, it may be difficult to breast-feed if you get a breast augmentation. However, not every woman experiences this complication.
Mammograms get a little more complicated with breast implants. You may require additional, specialized views. Always tell your radiologist that you have implants before they begin the procedure.
Removals Require Additional Surgery
If you have symptoms of a rupture or leak, it’s advisable to get an MRI. If a leak is detected, you’ll require additional surgery.
If you choose at any time to have your implants removed, you might require a breast lift or other type of surgery to help make your breasts look more natural.
Talk With Your Doctor
Before you get surgery, you and Dr. Neavin will meet to discuss your options. He will talk to you about which type of implant is best for you based on your health, lifestyle habits, and the shape of your body.
Ask as many questions as you want until you feel 100% comfortable with your decision.
We can help you make this important decision whether to get saline vs silicone implants. Click here to schedule an appointment with us today.
Dr. Tim Neavin is a board-certified plastic surgeon located in Beverly Hills, California.