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Silicone vs Saline Breast Implants

Written By Joe Gryskiewicz, MD, FACS

With the help of breast implants you can get the breasts you want. Breast implants can be used to correct the size and shape of your breasts. In other words, you can get fuller, rounder, bigger breasts using implants. The main characteristics of breast implants are size, shape and filling. While the size and the shape determine the volume of the breasts and how they look, the filling (silicone vs saline breast implants) determine how your breasts will feel to the touch after the breast augmentation surgery.

Dr. Joe is one of the most experienced plastic surgeons in Minnesota. With over three decades of experience performing breast augmentation procedures, he can help you achieve your aesthetic goals while also reducing the risks and complications associated with any surgical intervention.

Silicone and Saline Implants – Similarities and Differences

Silicone and saline implants are both used for breast augmentation and there are some similarities between the two. Both silicone and saline implants are made of a silicone shell filled with either silicone gel or sterile salt water (saline solution). The silicone shells contain an outer silicone elastomer layer that helps to keep the implant in place as well as a silicone reinforcement material that gives structure and durability to the implant.

The silicone gel used in silicone implants is composed of cross-linked molecules, like those found in plastic, which help give it a more natural feel than saline implants. On the other hand, saline implants are filled with sterile salt water, which allows them to be inserted into position while deflated before being filled after placement. This means that smaller incisions are possible when saline implants are used.

Both silicone and saline implants are approved for use in the US by the FDA, but silicone implants may have a slightly higher risk of complications associated with them compared to saline implants. However, silicone breast implants are more popular because they often provide a more natural look and feel than saline implants.

Overall, silicone and saline breast implants offer different benefits depending on personal preference and desired outcome. Some women prefer silicone due to its more natural feel while others opt for saline due to its lower cost and reduced risk of complications. Ultimately, it is up to each individual patient to decide which type of implant works best for them.

What are the pros and cons of saline implants?

Saline breast implants are a popular choice for many women considering getting breast implants. They have some advantages and disadvantages that should be considered.


One advantage of saline implants is that they can be filled with saline solution after the implant has been inserted into the body, allowing the surgeon to accomplish more precise sizing for asymmetry.

This also limits scarring and can reduce the time needed for surgery. Additionally, saline implants are less expensive than silicone gel implants.


On the downside, saline implants may not look or feel as natural as silicone gel. Saline is more apt to cause visible, which is more noticeable when the breasts are pressed. If a saline implant ruptures, your body will absorb the sterile saline and you will “Go-Flat” in a day or two.

A knowledgeable surgeon will also explain any risks associated with saline implants such as capsular contracture (hardening or tightening of scar tissue around the device) and saline leakage into the surrounding tissue. It is important to weigh these risks against the advantages before making any decisions.

What are the pros and cons of silicone implants?

Silicone implants are often preferred due to the natural look and feel that they provide. They can also be used for other forms of reconstructive surgery, such as post-mastectomy reconstruction or breast reconstruction after injury.


There are many benefits associated with using silicone implants, including:


However, silicone implants also come with certain risks and complications. These may include:

Before deciding about silicone breast implants, it’s important to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your surgeon. To ensure that silicone implants are right for you, Dr. Joe will assess your medical history, lifestyle habits, and preferences in order to make an informed decision. Taking the time to research all your options is key to making sure you choose the right implant for you.

Overall, silicone breast implants can be a great option for those looking for a natural look and feel after their cosmetic procedure.

Which implants are better, silicone or saline?

While there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to breast implants, silicone breast implants are often viewed as the preferred option due to their silicone outer shell which is much softer and more natural feeling than a traditional saline implant. Additionally, silicone implants tend to look and feel more natural, making them popular among those seeking natural-looking results. However, silicone does come with its own set of risks and drawbacks such as higher costs compared to saline implants and require a larger incision.

No matter what you choose, silicone or saline implants should be evaluated regularly to ensure that they are intact. Dr. Joe will do an annual in-office ultrasound to specifically check for shell integrity.

Do saline implants last as long as silicone?

Silicone breast implants are designed to last a long time, and they are much more durable than saline implants. Studies have found silicone implants to be safe for up to 10 years or longer, if they are cared for properly and monitored regularly. Saline implants last just as long, but if you have a rupture then you deflate almost overnight. It is important for women with silicone breast implants to follow the recommended maintenance and implant check schedules to ensure their safety and longevity.

Silicone vs Saline Implants – What’s the Best Option for Me?

When considering breast implants, you should know that each type of implant has its own unique benefits, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons when deciding which one is best for you.

The shape, texture, feel and longevity of silicone breast implants make them a popular choice. They are also known for giving a more natural look and feel than saline implants because silicone gel closely resembles the softness of human tissue. It is easier to correct small volume asymmetries with saline because they are adjustable in the operating room.

On the other hand, saline-filled breast implants may offer some advantages over silicone implants. They provide more control over the size and appearance of your breasts because they can be filled with varying amounts of saline solution and the procedure always leaves behind smaller scars. If you have a fear of silicone or concerns, then definitely choose saline.

The best breast implant for you will depend on several factors such as your body type, desired look, lifestyle, and budget. You can be assured Dr. Joe will use his quick recovery techniques regardless of which implant you choose.

In summary, I use both silicone and saline implants. Silicone gel implants look more natural and feel softer with less chance of visible wrinkling.  Studies show silicone implants do not increase the incidence of disease or the chances of developing breast or other cancers. Saline implants, on the other hand, are less expensive. I can insert a saline implant through a smaller incision and can more easily adjust for minor size discrepancies between each breast during surgery. Implants come in various shapes. About 99 percent of the time, I insert a standard round implant. Discuss the pros and cons of each shape with your surgeon.

FAQs about Saline and Silicone Breast Implants

Do saline or silicone breast implants look bigger?

Both silicone and saline breast implants are designed to enhance breast size equally. The same volume is the same volume whether gel or saline.

What happens to breast implants after twenty years?

When it comes to long-term performance, both silicone and saline breast implants can last for many years. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Which type of breast implant is the best?

When considering which type of implant is best for you, there are several factors that should be considered such as implant size, your desired outcome, budget, and health history. Ultimately, silicone and saline breast implants provide a safe and effective way to enhance your appearance. Your surgeon can help you decide which type of implant will best meet your needs based on your individual goals and preferences.

Do silicone or saline look more natural?

Silicone implants provide a more natural feel compared with saline because silicone gel closely mimics natural tissue. They also tend to maintain their shape better than saline implants, which can ripple or wrinkle over time.

Why do silicone implants cost more than saline?

Silicone implants typically cost more than saline due to the silicone gel material being a higher quality product that is more expensive to manufacture. Additionally, silicone implants require additional surgery for silicone implant removal and replacement, which can increase the overall cost of surgery

Further Reading about Breast Surgery at Twin Cities Cosmetic Surgery

Medical References about Breast Implant Incisions

This blog has been authored by “Dr. Joe” Gryskiewicz MD, FACS and Karan Chopra, MD.

About Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz:

Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 30 years of experience performing aesthetic surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and belongs to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society, The Rhinoplasty Society, and many other national institutions.

About Dr. Karan Chopra:

Dr. Karan Chopra is a board-certified and fellowship-trained plastic surgeon who specializes in the deep plane facelift and neck lift, blepharoplasty, buccal fat removal, breast augmentation, and many other aesthetic procedures. He belongs to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society, and The Minnesota Society of Plastic Surgeons, among many other professional organizations.