Breast Implants: Saline or Silicone?

Breast augmentations with implants continue to lead the field of popular procedures in cosmetic surgery. There is a reason for this. Breast implant surgery is very safe, the average cost of the procedure has become very competitive in the last few years, and nothing quite beats the surge of confidence women get from a breast enhancement.

When you set out to get breast implants, the immediate question looms large: Which type of implant should I get?

Studies have shown that both saline and silicone implants are proven to be safe. Both are FDA-approved. However, there are some distinct differences between the two kinds of implants. Read on to help you decide which type might be best for you.

Breast implants silicone before and after picture of NuBody Concepts patient
NuBody Concept patient received silicone breast implants (Sientra). View Gallery.

Saline Breast Implants

Saline implants have been around for many years. They are popular because they are considered to be “safer,” with the reasoning that the solution within the shell of the implant is merely water and would absorbed by the body if a leak or rupture occurred.

Saline implants require a smaller incision during surgery since they are not filled with water until after they are inserted. This also means that the surgeon can make minimal size adjustments on the day of the surgery when adding the fluid.

Saline implants are typically less expensive than silicone implants. The starting price for saline implants at NuBody Concepts is $5,900 under IV sedation. This includes all surgeon fees, anesthesia costs, and taxes.

On the downside, many people agree that saline implants tend to look more “fake” and can have a rippling appearance on the outside wall of the breasts in thinner patients.

Another downside to a saline implant is that if there were a rupture and the saline leaked out, the breast would quickly deflate. This causes no harm to the patient but is an inconvenience, since another surgery is the only way to correct the deflation.

Pros of Saline

  • Smaller incision
  • Adjustable
  • Less expensive than silicone

Cons of Saline

  • Can have rippling appearance on thinner patients
  • Fewer options for shape
  • Can deflate when ruptured (not harmful but aesthetically unpleasant)
  • Can lose volume over long periods

Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone implants are just as safe as saline implants despite popular belief. They are also called gel-filled implants, referring to the gel-like silicone they are filled with. “Gummy bear” implants are subtype of silicone implants that contain a firmer, more “form-stable” gel. They are also called highly-cohesive gel implants. If a form-stable implant were to become ruptured in some way (a relatively rare but nevertheless possible occurrence), the contents would not leak into the body.

Silicone helps to form a more natural looking breast than its saline counterpart. They tend to look and feel softer and often cannot be distinguished from breasts without implants. Another advantage over saline is that silicone implants retain their size and shape over a period of many years, whereas saline implants begin to lose volume after about five years.

Silicone implants require a larger incision since they are prefilled for surgery. On average, silicone implants are more expensive than saline implants. The starting price for silicone implants at NuBody Concepts is $6,900 under IV sedation. This includes all surgeon fees, anesthesia costs, and taxes.

Pros of Silicone

  • Silicone is leak-proof
  • More natural-looking
  • Softer feel
  • Retain their size over many years

Cons of Silicone

  • Require a larger incision
  • More expensive than saline

Are Saline or Silicone Breast Implants Better?

Given the price differences, it might be tempting to base your decision of saline or silicone implants on cost. Bear in mind that he cost difference between these two types of implants is not something a plastic surgeon can control. This is because the silicone implant manufacturer sets the price, and the manufacturing, research and development costs are higher than for saline.

Pricing variations for the surgery will also include factors like fees for the surgical facility, prescription medication, anesthesia fees, after surgery care, and the complexity of each particular patient’s care needs. The surgeon’s fee could also vary and can depend on the years of experience, as well as the type of ambulatory surgical facility used for surgery.

Ultimately, whether you choose saline or silicone implants for your breast augmentation is your choice. After initial research, a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon will yield the best information. He or she will discuss goals and options with you, and take measurements to determine size. Many plastic surgeons have a unique sizing system that can help patients determine exactly what look they like best. Your consultation will also be a good opportunity to ask about payment options, and many practices have consultants who can help you apply for a financing plan.

Some plastic surgeons may prefer one type of implant over the other, or may simply have more experience performing one rather the other. Aside from all the other pros and cons, these are factors you should also consider when making the decision. You may want to select your plastic surgery practice based on the surgeon’s experience with the procedure of your choice.

Steps to Take When Choosing Saline or Silicone

  • Think about the desired shape, feel, and texture of your implants
  • Browse implant manufacturer websites (Sientra and Mentor, for instance)
  • Consult with several plastic surgeons
  • Ask for before and after pictures for each type
  • Ask questions during your consultation about the surgeon’s experience with each type
  • Compare prices

Finding the most aesthetically pleasing breast implant fit is something our surgeons at NuBody Concepts have a lot of experience with. Both Dr. Rosdeutscher in Nashville and Dr. Peters in Memphis are board-certified plastic surgeons who have given implants to women in all sizes, shapes, and forms over more than 20 years of professional experience.

In addition, our breast augmentation prices are all-inclusive, without any added fees or taxes. The only price difference you will see on our quote is the price differential between saline and silicone.

Contact us today to start the conversation about breast implants!

Each patient is unique. What your treatment will look like is determined by you and the plastic surgeon who you will meet with in a personal consultation.