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Breast Implants: Silicone Vs. Saline

Breast Implants: Silicone Vs Saline

When it comes to breast augmentation, selecting between silicone and saline implants is a crucial choice that every woman must make. While both implant kinds have a lot in common and function similarly, there are a few variances to be aware of. Continue reading to find out more! And if you have any questions, feel free to contact the office of Dr. Rimma Finkel.

What are the benefits of breast augmentation? 

Breast augmentation is implanting a medical device (a breast implant) behind the breast and/or into the chest muscle (known as “submuscular” or “subpectoral” implantation). Breast augmentation can enhance breast volume in naturally small-breasted women, restore volume lost due to lactation or significant weight loss, modify breast form (such as in tubular breasts), and improve symmetry if the breasts are naturally different sizes or shapes. 

Breast Implants: Silicone Vs. Saline

If you are considering breast augmentation, it is important to know your options. Let’s look at the many possibilities and see which one is ideal for your body type and desired look. The shell of all breast implants is comprised of silicone, an inert polymer. The surface of the shell might be smooth or textured. Smooth-walled implants move about in the breast pocket gently, simulating natural breast movement, whereas textured implants induce soft tissue ingrowth into their thin surface interstices, holding the implant more rigidly in place. 

Base widths, projection amounts, and fill volumes vary across breast implants. Breast augmentation is not a technique that is “one size fits all.” The optimum implant for each breast will be carefully chosen and matched to the space in order to fulfill the patient’s individual goals. 


Silicone gel is a non-toxic polymer with no documented allergies, sensitivities, or reactions in humans. The molecules are locked together in a tight matrix, similar to gummy bear candy. Silicone is viscous, unlike saline. It flows differently within its shell than saline and may sometimes provide the breast a more natural look and feel, similar to breast tissue. According to FDA rules, women must be 22 years old or older to be provided silicone gel implants for breast augmentation. 

Saline (Sterile Saltwater) 

Breast augmentation with saline-filled implants is offered to all women over the age of 18. A board-certified plastic surgeon inserts a silicone shell into the body, which is subsequently filled with saline fluid to the appropriate volume. The consistency of saline is that of water. Implant “rippling” or “wrinkling” occurs when folds of a saline implant may be seen or felt more often beneath very thin skin. 

Some saline implants have the benefit of being surgically adjustable through a remote injection port, which is widely utilized in breast reconstruction surgeries to fine-tune the final implant volume over months before the implant port is removed. 

What happens if a medical implant fails? 

Depending on whether the implant is saline or silicone, the treatment method may differ. 

Saline Implant Ruptured 

When a saline breast implant ruptures, the implant deflates, changing the size and contour of the damaged breast. 

The leaking saline solution will be absorbed without harming you, but the silicone shell will almost certainly require surgery to remove. A replacement implant can most likely be placed at the same time if desired. 

Silicone Implant Rupture 

If a silicone breast implant ruptures, the free silicone tends to get trapped in the fibrous tissue (capsule) that grows around the implant, so you might not notice immediately away – or ever. A quiet rupture is what this is called. 

Breast cancer, reproductive issues, or rheumatoid arthritis are not known to be caused by leaking silicone gel. Still, a ruptured silicone breast implant might result in breast discomfort, thickness, or changes in the breast’s contour or form. 

If this happens, your doctor will almost certainly suggest that the implant be removed surgically. A fresh implant may typically be put in at the same time as the old one.

How have breast implants progressed or evolved throughout time? 

Silicone gel implants were originally developed in the late 1960s and have gone through multiple iterations as technology has advanced. In the 1990s and early 2000s, saline-filled implants became popular as an alternative to silicone-filled implants. Silicone gel implants have advanced significantly during the previous 20 years. In fact, the 7th and 8th generations of silicone breast implants are presently being implanted. The stiffness or “cohesiveness” of breast implants is improved with the latest silicone implants, which have a somewhat greater fill (96 percent against 85 percent in the previous generation) and more cross-linking of silicone molecules. 

What saline and silicone implant options are available? 

Saline implants “perplexed” 

Internal channel structure within the implant, similar to layers on a shelf, is referred to as “baffling.” Theoretically, these canals allow the saline inside the outer implant to flow in diverse directions, simulating the sensation of a silicone implant while reducing rippling and sloshy liquid movement. 

Silicone Implants Have Varying Levels of Cohesion

Silicone gel breast implants currently come in a variety of stiffness or “cohesiveness” (cross-linking of silicone molecules). The ones that are the most “liquid” are the softest and flow the easiest, and they are the most usually utilized for normal breast augmentation. The most cohesive silicone implants are the stiffest and have the best form retention, which might be beneficial for post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. An implant with an intermediate stiffness is also available, which may be advantageous for patients who want silicone but have had problems with rippling with less cohesive implants. 

How can we be sure that breast implants are safe? 

Did you know that silicone gel breast implants have been investigated more than any other medical device in history? In the 1980s and 1990s, silicone gel implants got unfavorable media attention and were sensationalized, with apparent allegations of detrimental health consequences, forcing the removal and replacement of older silicone implants with saline-filled devices. Since then, significant FDA-directed prospective clinical research with long-term follow-up has established that silicone gel implants are not linked to any chronic autoimmune illness. Read information from the ASPS regarding breast implant safety and the possible link between textured implants and BIA-ALCL, an exceedingly rare and curable disorder. 

How dangerous are breast implants? 

Breast implants made of saline or silicone have similar risks, including: 

  • Scar tissue that influences the shape of the breast implant (capsular contracture)
  • Infection of the breasts 
  • Changes in nipple and breastfeeding, which are usually only transient 
  • Any of these issues might necessitate further surgery, either to remove or replace the implants. 

Furthermore, certain breast implants carry a low risk of developing breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a type of cancer (BIA-ALCL). The most dangerous implants appear to be those with textured silicone and polyurethane outer shells. This is not breast cancer, despite the fact that it develops in the breast tissue. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy might all be used to treat it.

Is the safety of breast implants under constant scrutiny? 

Both saline and silicone implants are considered safe for breast augmentation and reconstruction. Both types of implants are still being studied for their safety and efficacy.

Breast Implants: Silicone Vs Saline

We hope this short article has helped you understand the differences in breast implant options. Schedule a consultation to talk with Dr. Rimma Finkel about your breast augmentation options.