Which type of implant to choose is a very personal decision. Both types of implants are FDA approved and are very safe. There is no difference in how the implants look once in the body. I use both types in my practice, and currently the distribution is about 50% silicone and 50% saline. The main differences are:

  • 1.  Cost
    a. Saline implants are $900 per pair
    b. Silicone implants are $1800 a pair – the increased cost is due to the cost of the studies done over the last 15 years to determine their safety.
  • 2.  Incision Size
    a. Saline implant incision size is 2 centimeters. The implant comes empty so it can be placed through a very small incision and then filled once it is in place.
    b. Silicone implant incision size is 4-5 centimeters. Since silicone implants are pre-filled, they require a larger incision size to place the implant without damaging it.
  • 3.  Palpability
    a. Saline implants do not feel quite as natural as silicone implants. This is not an issue when there is adequate tissue to cover the implant. In very thin patients with minimal breast tissue, silicone may be a better choice.
    b. Silicone implants feel more like breast tissue. If you have adequate breast tissue to cover the implant, you are a candidate for either saline or silicone. If you are very thin with minimal breast tissue, silicone may be a better choice for you.
    c. Regardless of what type you choose, you will always be able to feel your implant. This is normal. Your partner will not likely feel the implant.
  • 4.  Knowledge of Rupture
    a. Saline – If a saline implant ruptures, you will know because you will lose volume in that breast. The saline is absorbed by the body and will cause you no harm.
    b. Silicone – If a silicone implant ruptures, a great majority of patients will not know. This is because the silicone cannot pass through the capsule created by the body around the implant. The only way to tell will be through an imaging study such as a mammogram or an MRI. Although silicone implants have been studied extensively and are known to be safe, some patients have residual concerns about the silent rupture of a silicone implant. If this is your concern, saline may be a better choice for you.

Posted in: Breast Augmentation