Which is Best Silicone or Saline Implants?

08 May 2016

Thanks to the latest research from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, we know that breast augmentation is the most popular form of cosmetic procedure in the USA. However, despite this popularity in the USA (and the rest of the world) it is often a much misunderstood procedure. One of these misunderstandings is whether it is best to have silicone or saline implants. Below we take a look at some of the issues to consider with these two types of breast implant.


One of the major areas of concern that people have about breast implants (and silicone ones in particular) is concerning ruptures. These are a risk whatever type of breast implant is present and can be caused by a number of things such as surgical error, a fall or very, very rarely, the pressure placed on the breast during a mammogram.

Saline ruptures are easy to sport and the breast will rapidly change shape over days. If one of these types of implants burst, all that leaks into the body is saltwater which is harmlessly absorbed.

Silicone implant ruptures are harder to spot and if ruptured, silicone leaks into the body which the body can’t break down and can sometimes spread outside the breast and into the lymph nodes. Often, such ruptures can only be spotted by MRI scans so your surgeon may recommend regular MRI scans the cost of which should be factored in when choosing the best implant for your circumstances. Although there have been reports of a link between silicone breast implants and breast cancer, the USA’s FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have found no link between silicone implants and breast cancer and they are also approved for use within the UK’s National Health Service.


Of course when considering breast implants, as well as safety, aesthetics are important too. Silicone breast implants in the UK are often textured which adds to their likeness to real breast tissue and generally they are more realistic than saline implants. Saline implants can still look and feel very realistic but they are more prone to rippling of the skin when compared to silicone implants.

Surgical differences

A big consideration when considering silicone or saline breast implants is the surgical differences involved. Silicon implants are pre-filled and thus require an incision in the breast big enough to place them in. Saline implants however are filled after being implanted, which means the incision is much smaller. This also means they can be adjusted much easier post surgery if you want them reduced and does not involve surgery. To change your breast size with silicon implants involves the current ones being removed surgically and new ones being placed in.

Where to get advice

The decision to get either silicone breast implants or saline ones isn’t a decision that you should make alone. All good surgeons will go through the various options available for you and come up with a plan that both you and the surgeon are happy with.