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Breast Implants: Silicone, Saline Scorecard

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If you decide to have breast augmentation surgery, you’ll be making many decisions along the way. One important choice you’ll have is whether to select silicone or saline implants. This can be a tough call as there are advantages and disadvantages either way.

Here’s a scorecard that may help you decide:


To be honest, the look of your implants post-surgery depends more on the right fit in terms of size and profile and your surgeon’s skill in placing them properly than the implant material. That said, saline implants are known to cause rippling under the skin for some patients, especially women who have little natural breast tissue. Many cosmetic surgeons will not make a definitive statement on this point, but when they do, most vote for silicone.

Advantage: silicone


Silicone gel breast implants are almost universally regarded to have the most natural feel by plastic surgeons and patients alike. They earned the nickname “gummy bear” implants because of the firm-but-pliable feel of the material. Saline implants consist of a tough silicone shell filled with salt water.

Advantage: silicone


Silicone implants come pre-filled and pre-sized and must be inserted in their final form. Saline implants are inserted empty and then filled, meaning the scar can be slightly smaller.

Advantage: saline


There’s no question that saline solution is harmless for the body. It has many medical uses, including intravenously for dehydration and as an irrigation fluid for eyes and nose, for cleaning wounds and so on.

For those old enough to remember, silicone may still carry some stigma from the very earliest silicone-filled implants that were ultimately banned from the market. These older implant generations contained a much more liquid form of silicone that did escape the implant shell and sometimes the breast pocket when ruptured. Whether the liquid silicone actually caused the health problems some women claimed has never been proven.

The current generation of silicone implants contains a semi-solid form of silicone, like the famed gummy bear.

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EmpowHER Guest

Another thing that would be good to note are the age restrictions. I believe you have to be over 18 to get saline and over 22 to get silicone. Some additional things people looking to get breast implants should consider are placement, incision technique, and texture. This article sums those up well: http://www.advancedplasticsurgeryinstitute.com/plastic-surgery/breast-augmentation.cfm

Good article! Nice to see someone lay out the pros and cons so well.

November 26, 2013 - 3:48pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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