Saline vs. Silicone Breast Implants?

Board Certified Female Plastic Surgeon specializing in Breast Lift, Breast Reduction, and Implant Removal, Serving Las Vegas, Henderson, and Nearby Areas of Nevada


Both implants are widely used for breast augmentation and provide natural breast contouring with softness. From 1992-2005, silicone implants were banned due to unsubstantiated fear that they could cause cancer and other systemic diseases such as autoimmune illnesses. After extensive clinical trials and over 40 years of data accumulation in healthy women with breast implants, silicone implants were reintroduced into the market. Surgical results are excellent with both saline and silicone devices. The main difference is the feel of the implant. It is normal to feel your implant once it is placed deep to the breast tissue. Patients who are thinner and flatter will obviously feel their implant more. Implants placed over the muscle tend to be more palpable than implants placed under the muscle. Both devices have the same outer silicone shell that is not expected to last forever. The saline devices are filled with sterile saline, while the silicone implants are filled with a highly cohesive (non-leaky) silicone gel.

Most people admire and prefer the feel of the silicone implant, which tends to feel and move more like natural breast tissue, while the saline implant feels more like a water balloon. In women who are thinner with less tissue, where the implant is very perceptible, the more natural feeling silicone implant can translate into improved results. The devices have improved over the years with all silicone gel implants containing a highly cohesive and non-leaky gel. This means that silicone gel inside of the implant acts more like a solid unit rather than a liquid – it holds together uniformly and retains the natural give that resembles actual breast tissue. It also helps prevent migration or leakage of the gel in the event of a rupture.

The decision between saline and silicone implants can be very personal. You must be 22 years old to receive silicone implants. The placement of silicone implants requires a slightly longer scar as the implants are prefilled, and they are slightly more expensive than saline implants.