Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants: One of These Things Is Not like the Other

By 2025 the breast implants market is expected to exceed $4.6 billion dollars. The reasons why women choose to get breast implants are varied.

Some women do so to improve their self-esteem. Others do it after pregnancy in an effort to return to their pre-baby body. Others have the surgery performed due to cancer or asymmetrical breasts.

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 vs silicone implants.

Saline Vs Silicone Implants: The Basics

It’s important to know what each type of implant is made from before you decide which is best for you.

What Saline Implants are Made of

Saline implants have silicone shells which are filled with sterile salt water (saline).

Some saline implants are pre-filled while others are filled during your implant operation.

What Silicone Implants are Made of

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. Breast augmentation is an investment in yourself and you should focus on finding the best plastic surgeons in LA, not the cheapest.

How much breast augmentation cost depends on these factors:

  • Location
  • Doctor
  • Type of implant

Most surgeries tend to cost between $8,000 and $10,000. You should also be aware that if the reasons for your surgery are merely cosmetic and not due to reconstruction, health insurance typically won’t cover the costs.

It may be up to you to pay for the entire surgery yourself.

Why Choose Saline 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.

While the best plastic surgeons in LA can overfill the implant to help minimize rippling, 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.

They’re Approved for Ages 18 and Up

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.


Women also choose saline implants because the current recommendatons 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 because the implant will deflate. However, the saline is safely absorbed by your body.

It’s 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.

Smaller Incisions

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.

Why Choose Silicone Implants

The best Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeons will tell their patients that if they’re looking for a natural look, silicone is the best option. The gel inside the implants provides a feel that is more closely aligned to their natural breast tissue.

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

More Natural Look and Feel

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.

Symptoms are Hard to Spot

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:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Scarring
  • 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.

How to Deal with an Implant Rupture

If you suspect your breast implant has ruptured, it’s important to take action as soon as possible. However, your approach may differ depending on what type of implant you have.

When Your Saline Implant Ruptures

As discussed, if your saline implant ruptures or leaks, it will deflate. You’ll notice the size and shape of your breast have changed.

While your body can probably just absorb the saline without any health issues, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to just leave the implant inside of you. You’ll most likely require surgery to remove the silicone shell.

However, if you still want to keep your implants, you can have a new implant inserted at the same time.

When Your Silicone Implant Ruptures

Again, it’s harder to detect when your silicone implant ruptures. The free silicone usually ends up trapped within the fibrous tissue formed around the implant.

This is called a silent rupture.

Silicone Isn’t Harmful But Needs to Be Removed

While you won’t experience health issues like reproductive problems, rheumatoid arthritis or cancer, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to leave your ruptured implant in your body.

You may end up with breast pain, changes in shape or size or even breast thickening.

Again, you’ll need surgery to remove the implant. However, like saline implants, you can have a new implant inserted during the same surgery.

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.

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