If you’ve been thinking about getting breast implants, you’re probably aware that implant types essentially fall into 2 categories: saline versus silicone breast implants. Within the silicone implant category, though, you have a range of options involving the cohesiveness of the implants’ gel filling. And beyond the types of breast implants, you’ll also have choices about implant size, placement, and profile, as well as where you want the surgeon to make incisions.
Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants
Let’s focus first on your choice of breast implant type. There is really no correct answer; whether you get saline or silicone gel implants is based on your personal preference. Your surgeon can help you decide. (You can learn more about how to choose a breast augmentation surgeon in our related blog post.)
Saline breast implants consist of a silicone shell filled with a sterile saline solution that is biocompatible—the body harmlessly absorbs the fluid if there is a leak. Although less popular than today’s silicone implants, saline implants still offer benefits. Those include:
- The surgeon fills the implant after it’s inserted, allowing them to fine-tune the size
- Smaller incisions are needed because the implants are filled after insertion
- They have a lower risk of capsular contracture
The popularity of saline implants waned primarily because they tend to look and feel less natural than silicone gel options. This is especially true for women with little natural breast tissue. Other potential drawbacks associated with saline implants include the risk of visible rippling and the possibility of slightly deflating, which results in asymmetrical breasts.
Silicone Gel Implants
The cohesive silicone gel that fills implants creates results that most patients and surgeons believe look and feel more like natural breasts than saline implants. Highly cohesive silicone gel implants approved by the FDA are sometimes called “gummy bear” implants because the gel maintains its form even if the shell ruptures, similar to gummy bear candies. These form-stable implants require slightly longer incisions because they arrive at our practice pre-filled.
Your Other Breast Implant Options
This infographic illustrates the other choices you have when selecting implants for your breast augmentation surgery.
Visit our breast augmentation before-and-after photo gallery to see how different sizes and types of breast implants look on some of our actual patients.