Saline vs Silicone Breast Augmentation – Which Implant Is Right For You?

Breast augmentation remains a popular body contouring procedure for women. In as little as one hour, a woman can dramatically change her body shape in a very favorable way. Only breast implants can produce such a significant body change in such a short period of time. When it comes to breast implants there are two types currently available, saline -filled and silicone filled. Since 2006, silicone breast implants have returned which are filled with a new cohesive gel formulation that is much better than that used in the past.

Given these two choices, how does one decide which type of breast implant is better for them?

In reality, neither saline or silicone breast implants are perfect. If one was truly better than the other, there would be only one choice not the two that we have. Each type of breast implant is safe (FDA-approved) and has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Both of them will do the job and do what they are intended to do… make the breasts bigger. But there are some differences between them and understanding these differences helps you make the best implant.

Saline breast implants have the advantages of a lower cost and can be placed through a small incision high up in the armpit that is not on the breast. That incision location may be an advantage in the Hispanic woman who may be concerned about any scarring around the breasts. Saline implant disadvantages are that there may be some implant rippling that can be felt on the bottom or sides of the breast and the risk of immediate deflation of the breast should the implant rupture.

Silicone breast implants have the benefits of a slightly more natural feel (no rippling) and the breast will not go flat should the implant rupture. However, they do require an incision in the lower breast crease and have higher implant costs.

Other than these implant differences, everything else about the breast augmentation procedure is the same including recovery time (one week or less) and how long the breasts will be swollen. (two to three weeks)

What is the best type of breast implant for you? I tell patients to make their choice based on which of their disadvantages you can live with the best. Both saline and silicone implants work for breast augmentation…which of their disadvantages is more acceptable to you?

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana