Silicone vs. Saline

Implant Options for Breast Augmentation

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Elliot Hirsch, MD has extensive experience working with both saline and silicone breast implants. The Los Angeles plastic surgeon has been named to the "Top Doctors in Los Angeles 2018" list by Los Angeles magazine as well as the Super Doctors Rising Stars list in 2017.

Breast Implant Tradeoffs

There are many different types of breast implants for breast augmentation and it can be somewhat overwhelming to think of all the options! The first question that most women are faced with is the choice between silicone breast implants and saline breast implants. While the breast implant cost is different, both types of breast implants have been around for a long time and have excellent safety records. Ultimately, the choice between saline breast implants and silicone breast implants comes down to your preference after considering the benefits and drawbacks of each, and discussing with Dr. Hirsch. 

Saline Breast Implants
In general, saline breast implants are made of a silicone shell and are empty when they are inserted into the breasts. Since the saline implants are empty, they can be compressed and can therefore be inserted through smaller incisions than can silicone implants of comparable sizes. So, one advantage of saline implants is that your scar will usually be smaller than if silicone implants are used. Another advantage is that if a saline breast implant deflates, it is immediately obvious (since the breast deflates), and they can easily be exchanged for a new implant. However, saline breast implants generally do not feel as soft and natural as silicone implants. Finally, the saline breast implant cost is generally less expensive than silicone breast implants.

Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone breast implants are also made of a silicone shell, but instead of being filled with saline, they are pre-filled with soft silicone gel. The silicone gel filling comes in varying degrees of cohesiveness, or stickiness, and is softer and more natural feeling than saline. Because the implants are pre-filled and can’t be compressed like saline breast implants, a larger incision is needed to insert silicone breast implants. Although the actual price of silicone breast implants varies with the type of implant, in general silicone breast implants are more expensive than saline breast implants. Also, it is important to note that the FDA recommends that women get a MRI 3 years after breast surgery, and every 2 years afterwards. The silicone breast implant cost is typically higher than saline breast implants, and depends on the actual implants used.