Saline vs Silicone Implants


Silicone Implants:

Silicone implants are filled with a dense silicone gel, which has a texture that closely mimics the feel of human breast tissue. Because the implants are pre-filled when they are inserted, breast augmentation with silicone implants could necessitate a longer incision than a breast augmentation surgery with saline implants, but this is dependent upon the size of the implant. Silicone implants are accessible to women at least 22 years of age for cosmetic breast augmentation, and to women of any age for reconstructive breast surgery.

Saline Implants:

Saline implants have silicone elastomer shells, but are filled with a sterile saline solution rather than a silicone gel. Saline implants are inserted into the body in their empty form, and are filled to their predetermined size once they are in place. Should these implants rupture the body will naturally absorb the saline solution without any problematic health issues. Saline implants are accessible to women at least 18 years of age for cosmetic breast augmentation, and to women of all ages for reconstructive breast surgery.


Silicone Implants:

Silicone breast implants have a range of different shapes (teardrop or round), volumes/sizes (175cc-800cc), textures (smooth or textured), and profiles (moderate to ultra-high). Most of the recently developed silicone implants have three layers of shell enveloping the silicone gel, in order to prevent any potential gel bleeding issues. Breast augmentation technology has advanced tremendously over the past decade, facilitating the creation of more natural-looking “tear-drop” shaped silicone implants, and decreasing the likelihood of silicone implants leaking, deflating, or rupturing.

Saline Implants:

Saline breast implants are also offered in a range of volumes/sizes (120cc-960cc), textures (smooth or textured), shapes (round or anatomical/contoured) and profiles (moderate to high). However, patients desiring implants larger than 850cc will require custom implants.


Silicone Implants:

Although banned by the FDA in 1992, silicone implants were declared “safe and effective” in 2006 when the ban was lifted, and have become increasingly popular over the last nine years among breast augmentation and breast reconstruction patients. In 2012, silicone implants were utilized in 62% of the breast-augmentation procedures performed in America. Many patients and plastic surgeons believe that silicone implants offer a more authentic simulation of natural breast tissue than saline implants, and silicone implants are less likely to ripple or change in texture over time.

Saline Implants:

Saline implants experienced a sharp spike in popularity during the years of the FDA’s silicone ban (1992-2006), and are were still utilized in 38% of the breast augmentation procedures performed in America in 2012. The primary benefit of choosing saline implants for breast augmentation surgery is that the body is able to safely absorb the saline solution if the implant ruptures.

Although saline implants are more inclined to undergo textural changes (ie. rippling), they are easier to remove, and entail a much smaller incision than silicone implants, minimizing the level of post-procedural scarring. Lastly, saline implants offer the advantage of allowing a flexible fill volume, enabling the plastic surgeon to fine-tune and perfect the volume of the implant during the breast augmentation surgery.


At our plastic surgery practice, located in Orange County, CA, Dr. Farbod Esmailian M.D., is a double board certified plastic surgeon with years of extensive experience working with both silicone and saline implants, and will work with you to ensure that you select the perfect size and type of implant to achieve the results you desire. Dr. Esmailian is a skillful and compassionate surgeon, who believes strongly in helping his patients make truly informed decisions about their surgery.

Dr. Esmailian will take the time to thoroughly discuss your breast surgery, helping you to select the ideal implant choice to fulfill your aesthetic goals. If you would like more information about saline and silicone breast implants, please contact our office. We are happy to answer any and all of your questions, and to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Esmailian.


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