Are Saline Breast Implants Better Than Silicone?

Edwin Austin, MD The prospect of loving your body more can be very exciting. For decades, women who have been unsatisfied with the size or shape of their breasts have had the option of enlargement with breast implants. As popular as silicone breast implants have been for many years, the recent recall of a small number of these medical devices has cast doubt in some patients’ minds. Are silicone breast implants still a good option for breast enhancement, or are saline implants now a better option? Here, we discuss the critical ways in which the two types of breast implants differ.

Saline Implants vs. Silicone


Saline and silicone breast implants are FDA-approved medical devices used to enlarge the breasts. Saline devices are silicone shells filled with saline (purified salt water), whereas silicone devices are silicone shells with an inner chamber of gel. Silicone gel may be thinner or more viscous, even form stable like gummy bear candy. Both types of implants can be placed over or under the pectoral muscle.

Look and Feel

Breast augmentation is performed to improve the look of the breasts while ideally maintaining the most natural appearance possible. In addition to appearance, patients should know what to expect in terms of feel. By “feel” we mean how the breast implants feel inside the body. The softness of even firmer, form-stable silicone implants tends to create a more natural feel both to the touch and when the patient lies on her side or stomach. Saline implants usually look more natural when placed below the muscle. Due to their firmness, this type of implant doesn’t feel as natural as silicone and may take some getting used to.


The recent recall of a small number and specific type of silicone breast implants has brought the general safety of this type into question. More women may be considering saline implants for this reason. Both kinds of implants carry a risk of rupture, and capsular contracture could also result from either type. However, if a saline implant leaks or ruptures, it is known right away because the breast deflates. Furthermore, the body simply absorbs the saline fluid. A silicone leak could occur without immediate indication. However, the form-stable implants that are popular today tend to secure silicone rather than allow spreading through breast tissue.

Learn more about the different types of implants. Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can provide the most detailed information about breast implant surgery. To schedule your visit to our Salem, OR office, call 503-561-7000.

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