What You Need to Know About Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants
With all the different types of breast implants out there, women often ask me as their female plastic surgeon for recommendations. One of the most asked questions is “Should I get saline vs silicone breast implants?” The short answer is that there is no one-size-fits-all!
You have a lot of options when it comes to Breast Augmentation. That’s a good thing since each of us have different body types and goals. There are different breast implant brands, sizes and shapes to consider. The placement of the breast implants, for example above or below the muscle, makes a difference as well.
By popular demand, this blog post focuses specifically on how to decide between saline vs silicone breast implants. Here we summarize some key differences to help you prepare for your plastic surgery consultation and make the best decision for you.
Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants: Look and Feel
Saline and silicone breast implants typically have a different look and feel. This can affect your decision on which type of implant is right for you.
When you hold the breast implant in your hands, most people agree that silicone breast implants feel more natural, or more like real breasts. The consistency of silicone breast implants offers more give, often giving women a more natural look as well.
Saline breast implants, on the other hand, tend to have a firmer look and feel. Since saline implants are filled during the Breast Augmentation procedure, your plastic surgeon can customize the volume of the implants on either side. This can help with achieving a symmetric look in asymmetric breasts.
In both cases, the look and feel of the breast implants depends on how they sit under your breast tissue or muscle. Everyone has a different amount of camouflage of the implant with their existing breast tissue. This factors into the look and feel as well when deciding between saline vs silicone breast implants.
Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants: Popularity
While we would never suggest making the decision of saline vs silicone breast implants on popularity alone, it is certainly a factor to consider. You probably looked at Google reviews before visiting the Tannan Plastic Surgery website. That’s because social credibility matters. It’s helpful to know the latest plastic surgery trends to make an informed decision.
Board-certified plastic surgeons participate each year in a survey conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). This survey compiles statistics on plastic surgery procedures across the country. In the 2018 survey results, ASPS reported that 313,000 breast augmentation procedures were performed.
We found something else interesting when we dug deeper into the trends. Women chose silicone breast implants 88% of the time. The remaining 12% chose saline breast implants.
Certainly you shouldn’t decide on saline vs silicone breast implants by this statistic alone. However, it does suggest that silicone breast implants are more popular and more commonly used by a long shot. We find silicone breast implants to be more popular with our patients at Tannan Plastic Surgery as well.
Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants: Fill
Both saline and silicone breast implants have a silicone outer shell. What’s different about them is the fill. To state the obvious, saline implants are filled with saline while silicone implants are filled with a silicon gel.
Let’s get into a bit more specifics on the fill. Saline implants are filled with a saline solution (like salt water) by your plastic surgeon during a Breast Augmentation procedure. This is the same fluid that is injected in your vein if you have ever been to a hospital and gotten fluids.
Silicone implants come pre-filled from the breast implant manufacturer. They contain a medical grade silcone gel within the silicone outer shell. The leading breast implant companies that make and sell silicone implants are Sientra, Natrelle (by Allergan) and Mentor (by Johnson & Johnson).
Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants: Safety and Age
There is a large body of research on both silicone and saline breast implants. To summarize, both types of breast implants are safe and FDA-approved for use in Breast Augmentation procedures.
While breast implants are safe, they do carry a risk of rupturing where the outer shell breaks. For saline implants, all of the saline fluid gets absorbed by your body and filtered out in your urine. Cosmetically speaking, your breast will shrink down in size after the saline implant ruptures. It will be obvious if the implant is completely deflated or empty.
When silicone implants rupture, the gel is usually contained within your body’s capsule around the implant. Women sometimes don’t know their silicone implants have ruptured because they don’t deflate or empty out like saline breast implants. A mammogram or MRI is often performed to determine if the silicone implant is ruptured.
The FDA places certain age recommendations on saline vs silicone breast implants as well. This is something young women should consider when making a decision. Saline breast implants are FDA-approved for use in women aged 18 and up. Silicone breast implants are FDA-approved for use in women aged 22 and up.
Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants: Cost
Often people wonder if there is much difference in saline vs silicone breast implant cost. The short answer is yes, saline breast implants are slightly less expensive than silicone breast implants. However, as you get more advanced technology in saline implants, the cost approaches that of silicone implants. For example, the Ideal Saline Implant, which has multiple silicone shells, costs the same as silicone implants. On the other hand, traditional saline implants by Natrelle and Mentor are a little less expensive than gummy bear silicone gel implants.
When you put together the cost of surgery, anesthesia and operating room fees, comparing the cost of saline vs silicone implants is negligible. Saline implants may wind up costing 5% less than silicone implants when you factor in everything.
Choosing the right breast implant for you, saline vs silicone, is a personal decision with many important factors to consider. The cost is close enough that you’re better off focusing on the look and feel of the breast implants, or whatever your specific goals might be.
Deciding on Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants
As you can see, there is a lot to unpack when deciding on saline vs silicone breast implants for you! With all the options, it is best to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Together, we figure out what is best for you. In addition to our Cost Calculator and Recovery Calculator, the Before and After Gallery online and extended gallery in the office can help guide you through your options. Schedule a consult today to learn what’s best for you.