Which are Better for Breast Implants: Saline or Silicone?


If this title sounds familiar to you, it’s because there are hundreds of similar titles out there regarding this topic. Most articles try to explain the difference between saline and silicone breast implants or why one is better than the other. Before we get into which is best, remember that the best answer is always subjective. No doctor, plastic surgeon, nor boob expert can tell you which is the best because everyone is different and are seeking different results. I prefer silicone breast implants because I believe silicone implants feel more like the real thing. Silicone breast implants feel more natural to me, but again, it’s all subjective. You must read on and come up with your own conclusion.

What are Silicone Breast Implants?

Silicone implants contain soft, cohesive, silicone gel wrapped inside a thicker envelope of silicone. This thick, outer, silicone envelope protects the soft gel inside from leaking since it is very durable. Silicone breast implants are available in many different sizes. Additionally, silicone breast implants are available in round or teardrop (anatomical) shapes. Silicone breast implants can have several textures: smooth or textured. It is important to know that silicone breast implants are more expensive than saline breast implants. The reason why is because of the manufacturer.

What Do Silicone Implants Feel Like? Silicone breast implants are also called "gummy bear implants." If one were to grab a silicone implant, I would say it’s close to a bunch of wet gummy bears smooshed together and then compressed inside of a balloon. It’s a very natural, watery, gel-based feeling. In my opinion, silicone breast implants are better, but they do come with some repercussions.

Silicone Implant Complications I must say that in my years as a plastic surgeon, I have seen some very interesting things inside the human body. One of the most common items injected into the body is free silicone. This raw, free silicone that is not in a bag or envelope. Whether people have injected silicone in their breasts or whether the silicone breast implant has ruptured, free silicone is not suitable for you and your body will let you know. When a silicone implant breaks, your body sees this and realizes "Hey, this is not part of my body" and makes scar tissue around the free silicone. Scar tissue causes a palpable breast lump which can lead to a visible and painful mass. Silicone injections lead to scar formation and granulation formation. Granulomas are often confused with breast cancer. Whether silicone has been injected or has leaked from a silicone breast implant, free silicone should be removed as soon as possible.

What are Saline Implants? Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water and have a silicone, outer shell or layer. Saline implants come in different sizes and can have a smooth or textured, outer layer. The silicone, outer layer protects the saline fluid inside the implant. Saline implants are less expensive than silicone breast implants. The implants are filled with sterile, salt water called saline. Saline breast implants are inflated and filled with saline via an injection port.

What Do Saline Implants Feel Like?

In my opinion, saline implants do not feel as natural as silicone implants. To me, saline implants feel like a water balloon or bag of water. This example might not be the best, but for educational purposes and for something to reference while at home, this is as close as it gets. Saline implants feel similar to breast fat, but in my opinion (notice how I keep saying my opinion), silicone breast implants feel more natural.

Saline Implant Complications

Saline and silicone breast implants both have risks involved. Because saline has the consistency of water, underneath thin skin, you may see wrinkle or creases of the saline breast implant. When this occurs, this is called rippling or wrinkling. If a saline implant were to rupture, your body would absorb the saline. After deflation and absorption, you would be left with a deflated saline implant. Once the implant is deflated, the it should be removed and a new breast implant inserted at the same time.

So Which Breast Implant is Really Better?

After reading thoroughly the good and the bad of both implants, I would like to remind you that your choice is ultimately the best. One of the most important things I like to tell my patients is to do the research. Also, be entirely sure that whatever procedure you are going to have, you should be 100% comfortable with your choice. Remember that every breast, skin thickness, and person is different, so this is not about one size fits all. It’s always important to consult a plastic surgeon, like myself. So, which breast implant is better? Well, that decision is ultimately up to you. For more questions regarding breast implants contact me, Dr. Katzen. I have two offices conveniently located in Beverly Hills, CA and Las Vegas, NV. Call me today for a consultation about your future breast implants.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.