Saline vs silicone implant – which are better?

Saline vs silicone implant discussion lasts for quite some time, regarding the decision what type should opt for when you decide you want to get breast implants

The difference between saline and silicone implants is in the filing, or the inside of a silicone shell. Both of them have a shell made out of inert polymer called silicone, so the main difference lies in the filling which ultimately determines who wins the saline vs silicone implants battle. 

If you want to evaluate the options and find out how can you decide between the two, read the text below in order to better understand the difference between these two kinds of breast implants, which are better, and ultimately – which of them are safer to use.

Saline or silicone implants – the basics

When it comes to saline vs silicone breast implants discussion, the best way to understand it is to start from the beginning. 

Saline and silicone implants have been in use since 1960., but since their introduction, silicone implants have been the more more popular implant type due to their natural look and feel. 

However, in 1992. this type of implant was banned by the FDA over the concern they may increase the risk of developing autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. In the period between 1992. and 2006., saline implants were the only available option in the U.S.A. 

Fast forward to 2006.- the FDA decided to remove the ban due to lack of consistent evidence that would support the initial concerns. After several years of research it was determined that the risk of developing an autoimmune disease is the same whether you have silicone implants or no implants at all. 

What are silicone and saline breast implants made of?

So, what is actually the main difference between silicone and saline implants?

Simply put – the main difference between silicone and saline implants lies in the material they’re made of and their consistency.  Both of these implants are made of a solid silicone shell, with the main silicone and saline implants difference being in material they’re made of, and their consistency. 

Silicone breast implants come pre-filled with silicone gel. Silicone gel represents an inert polymer – with no known human allergies, sensitivities and reactions. In contrast with saline, silicone gel flows differently through a shell, which is why it can create a more natural look and feel to the breast. In order to get silicone implants for breast augmentation, a woman must be 22 or older. 

Saline implants contain sterile saltwater, and they are available to all women over the age of 18. First a silicone shell is inserted into the body and then filled to its’ desired size and volume with sterile saltwater. Saline has a consistency of water, which is why under a skin that is very thin, they tend to be noticeable more often – an occurrence known as “rippling” or “wrinkling”. 

Silicone vs saline implants safety

Whether you choose silicone or a saline implants, you will face the same risks, including: 

  • Capsular contracture (scar tissue that distorts the shape of the breast implant)
  • Breast pain
  • Possible infections
  • Changes in nipple and breast sensations
  • Implant ruptures or leakages

With any type of implant, there is a small chance of developing a rare reaction called capsular contracture. When this happens, woman’s body reacts to the implants by forming abnormally thick scar tissue around the implant, which ultimately causes pain and mild to severe deformity. 

Correcting any of these complications might involve another surgery, either to remove or to replace the implants, so if you were asking yourselves are saline breast implants safer than silicone, when it comes to ruptures – they are definitely less risky. 

Ruptured silicone implants

The main issue when the silicone implant ruptures is that you might not notice it right away, or ever, for that matter. 

Free silicone tends to remain trapped in the capsule that forms around the implant. This is an occurrence that is known as a silent rapture. This kind of a rapture can cause breast pain, breast thickening, or changes in shape and contour, but it definitely can not lead to more serious health problems such as breast cancer, reproductive problems or rheumatoid arthritis.

The rupture silicone implant is usually easily solved by surgical removal or replacement of the implant.

Ruptured saline implants

Unlike silicone implants, if the saline implant ruptures it will result in implant deflation – a change in shape and size of the breast.

There are no potential health risks, since your body will absorb the saline solution, but you’ll need a surgery to remove the leftover silicone shell. 

So, are saline implants safer than silicone?

The bottom line is that both of these implants are considered to safe breast surgery procedures. 

Which ones look and feel the most natural?

Is there a visual difference between saline and silicone implants?

As we all know, the key feature of any kind od of implant is to look aesthetically appealing. Though both of these can provide you with a natural look and feel, it is widely considered that silicone implants are a bit better at achieving it, since they are softer, but also, less prone to rippling, but on the other hand – pose a greater health risk if they leak.

In the end, when it comes to silicone and saline implants difference regarding looks is virtually non-existent. The result will look the same no matter what type of implant you choose, but they are going to feel different depending on the material used.  

Differences in healing time

What is better – saline or silicone implants in regards to healing?

Healing time after breast surgery is not affected by the type of implants, so this isn’t something that should bother you. 

As you heal, you’ll probably need to wear a surgical bra, as well as the drainage tubes that will be removed after a few days. You will have some swelling and scarring, both of which will fade away over time, but only possible complications depend on the type of implants, the healing itself does not.

What does depend is the degree od scarring. Since saline implants are filled at the time of the surgery, this means they require smaller incisions than the silicone ones. This allows more versatility when it comes to incision placement, unlike in the case of silicone implants that can only be placed through an incision along the armpit or at the breast fold. 

Saline implants can be inserted along the border of the areola or rarely through an incision made through the navel – all in all, a greater versatility in terms of future scarring, and to some women – a greater reference when answering the question are silicone or saline implants better choice.

Longevity – which implants are more likely to last longer?

Whatever type you opt for, the truth is – none of them is made to last forever, so when it comes to silicone and saline implants difference in terms of longevity – it bares little significance.

Of course, saline implants tend to be less durable because they usually deflate after certain  amount of time (10 years at the most), while silicone implants tend to be more durable, and can last longer than 10, even 15 years. 

However, the most responsible thing you can do regarding your health is to go on the MRI scans regularly, to check for silent ruptures (if you have silicone implants). If you do have them, your implants will have to be removed or replaced. Being that choosing the right type of implant based on their advantages and disadvantages can be a more overwhelming process than deciding to undergo a liposuction or a tummy tuck procedure, your surgeon of choice should be more than happy to guide you through this process of making the best decision of opting for saline or silicone implants – both regarding your appearance and your health.

Leave a Comment