Saline or Silicone Gel: Which Breast Implants Should I Choose?
Saline vs. Silicone Gel
Advantages of silicone gel breast implants:
- Softer to touch, feel more like breast tissue. Silicone gel is an oil, similar to the fatty tissues of the breasts. Saline is simply saltwater.
- Reduced rippling relative to saline implants. All implant edges ripple. Try putting water in a Glad bag and look at the edges of the bag. You will definitely see less rippling with oil in a bag than water in the same bag.
- Apparent greater longevity. Preliminary studies suggest that silicone gel implants may last a little longer than saline implants.
Advantages of saline implants:
- Smaller incisions. I use a 3 cm incision (just over an inch) for saline. Since silicone gel implants are prefilled by the manufacturer, they require a 4 to 5 cm incision.
- Lower risk of capsular contracture (hardening of the implants due to constricting scar tissue).
- Lower cost (around $1500 lower).
- Less controversy.
Bottom line: there is no perfect implant. If there were, we’d only be discussing one kind of implant type (rather than two).
So which one should you choose?
Silicone gel breast implants are probably better from a purely cosmetic standpoint: they feel very similar to breast tissue.
Saline breast implants are probably better from a purely safety standpoint: it’s hard to argue with the safety of a bag of saltwater.
In general, if you have a reasonable amount of breast tissue, subcutaneous fat, and breast tone, saline implants will be reasonably well-camouflaged and may be a good choice.
On the other hand, if your breasts are very small (A minus), you are extremely thin, and/or have poor breast tone (i.e. you don’t have much tissue to cover your implants), you may want to consider silicone gel.
View our before and after breast augmentation photos and videos. To learn more about breast implants contact Plano plastic surgeon, Dr Ronald Friendman.