Breast Implants – Silicone or Saline

Which Breast Implant to choose, Silicone or Saline

Breast augmentation and breast lifts and breast reconstruction have become quite popular as a means to increase and enhance a woman’s appearance.  Today there is no need for a woman to despair because her breasts are too small, sagging, drooping, misaligned, or to face life without one or both breasts due to having had a mastectomy.

Woman who choose the surgical route to breast enhancement are faced with the choice of method of surgery either a breast lift or breast augmentation, if she chooses breast augmentation then she together with her surgeon will choose which type of implant will be used.  Most good cosmetic surgeons will offer a choice of either a gel-filled (silicone) implant or a saline-filled implant.

Deciding which one to choose the cosmetic surgeon will, in consultation, will discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of both choices. 

Silicone Breast Implants:

Silicone implants are filled with a gel like substance which is derived from silicon. This is a semi metallic like element that combined with oxygen will form silicone dioxide or what is known as silica.  Silica is a common substance found on Earth, common materials such as beach sand, quartz and crystals are known as silica.  When silica is heated together with carbon at a high temperature it will produce silicon. Continued processing will convert silicon into a polymer or silicone, the end product can be either liquid, gel or a rubbery like substance. 

Breast ImplantsRegarding the safety of silicone, some studies have been conducted and it has been determined that there are higher levels of silicone to be found in infants formula and cow’s milk than are found in silicone implants. The conclusion is that if it’s safe for babies to ingest, it is safe to be used in breast implants.

Saline-filled breast implants are made of a silicone rubber shell which will be inflated with sterile saline (salt water).

There is a choice of Saline implants. A fixed volume implant, this is pre-filled with the entire amount of saline at the time of the implantation.  The second type contains a valve which will be filled intra-operatively, the size is then determined at the filing process after implantation.   The adjustable volume implant has the further advantage of being able to be adjusted post-operatively.

Here is a breakdown of some of the advantages and disadvantages of the two types of breast implants:

Silicone Implants

Saline Implants

Should the implant rupture it
is more difficult to detect and diagnose.


No difference will be
noticeable because the silicone gel will probably leak into the
surrounding tissues of the breast.

If a saline filled implant
ruptured it will be noticed immediately as the implant begins to reduce
its size almost immediately.


The saline solution will be
absorbed in the breasts tissues.


The end result of a silicone
implant is a more natural looking breast. Because silicone is similar
in structure to breast tissue, it will form a natural shape.

The saline implant does not
produce as good a result as a silicone implant.

Scarring is greater the larger
the size of the implant.

Scarring is smaller even if
the implant is filled to a larger size.

There is less chance of
leakage as there are no valves to be used in filling the implant. The
implant is pre-filled before implantation 

There is more chance of
leakage through the valves used in filling the implant. 

It is more difficult to
replace a silicone implant.


A saline implant can be
repaired and does not often need to be replaced.


There is a chance of infection
inside the implant during the filling process, which can lead to