Breast Implant Types: Saline Vs. Silicone and Everything in Between

If you’re considering breast augmentation, you have a variety of options to achieve your desired breast size and shape. From breast implant type to implant placement and incision location, the choices for this popular plastic surgery procedure allow you to customize it to your specific needs. One of the biggest decisions to make when it comes to breast augmentation is breast implant type, and you have multiple options to choose from.

Drs. William and Jeffery Umansky are board-certified plastic surgeons who believe in educating their patients to guide them in making the most informed decisions for themselves. They will help you choose the best implant type for your breast augmentation based on your body type, personal preferences and other unique needs.

Saline Implants

Saline implants are made of a silicone outer shell filled with a sterile saltwater solution.

Pros of Saline Implants

  • Your breast augmentation surgeon will insert the implant empty and then fill it, which allows for a shorter surgical scar than silicone implants.
  • Your surgeon can adjust the volume after your implants are in place, providing tailored results based on how the implants fit inside your breast pocket.
  • Because saline implants are filled with liquid saline, ruptures are immediately noticeable (no silent ruptures), and your body would harmlessly absorb the saline solution.
  • When it comes to cost and maintenance, saline implants are generally less expensive than silicone implants.

Cons of Saline Implants

  • Saline implants tend to feel firmer and have a less natural look compared to silicone implants.
  • This implant type is more likely to show rippling or wrinkling through the breast tissue, especially in patients with little natural breast tissue for coverage.

IDEAL IMPLANT® (Structured Saline Implant)

The IDEAL IMPLANT is a uniquely structured implant that offers the natural look and feel of silicone with the safety and peace of mind of saline. The internal structure consists of a series of nested silicone shells and two chambers that are filled separately with saline. This revolutionary design allows the implants to behave like silicone gel implants; the shells and chambers support the implant edges to prevent wrinkling, and they also support the upper breast pole so it doesn’t sink in and appear deflated when you’re upright.

Since the IDEAL IMPLANT is filled with saline, there is no risk of silent rupture, meaning you’ll know your implants are intact just by looking at them. FDA clinical trial data from a 10-year study also reveals that IDEAL IMPLANTS have a lower rate of rupture and capsular contracture compared to various gel implant types.

Silicone Implants

Silicone implants are made of a silicone shell filled with silicone gel that closely resembles the feel of natural breast tissue. This type of implant comes pre-filled in a variety of sizes.

Pros of Silicone Implants

  • Silicone implants are a popular choice because of their soft and natural feel.
  • Because of their thicker structure, silicone implants are less likely to have rippling or wrinkling that shows through your breast tissue.
  • Silicone implants are less likely to deflate or rupture than saline implants.

Cons of Silicone Implants

  • Silicone implants come from the manufacturer already filled with silicone gel, so they are larger than saline implants when inserted and require larger surgical incisions.
  • Ruptures of silicone implants aren’t obvious and may need an MRI or ultrasound to detect (silent ruptures).
  • This implant type may be more likely to be affected by a complication known as capsular contracture (scar tissue that tightens around the implants).

“Gummy Bear” Implants (Highly Cohesive Silicone Implants)

Silicone implants come in varying degrees of cohesiveness (thicknesses). Gummy bear implants are an innovative type of silicone implant filled with the most cohesive form of silicone gel. If you were to cut these implants open, the consistency inside would resemble that of their namesake candies.

Gummy bear implants are thicker and feel firmer than other silicone implant types, and they are shaped like a teardrop to mimic the anatomical shape of the breast for very natural-looking results. Because of their form-stable silicone, gummy bear implants maintain their shape well and may last longer than other implant types. The cohesive gel also is unlikely to leak out of the implant shell in the case of rupture.

At Umansky Plastic Surgery, we offer the following trusted and FDA-cleared implant brands:


Other Considerations for Silicone Vs. Saline Implants

Safety and Durability

When it comes to safety, both saline and silicone implants are considered safe and have been approved by the FDA. Both types of implants are also considered long lasting but not lifetime devices, and they require regular monitoring and may need to be replaced at some point in the future. Silicone implants are believed to last longer than saline implants, but the length of your results will depend on various factors.

Personal Preferences and Body Type

While silicone implants are generally considered to be more natural-looking and feeling than saline implants, the difference in appearance and feel may be subjective and depends on individual preferences. The amount and shape of your natural breast tissue will also play a part in how your implants look once placed in your chest.

The best way to find out the right implant for you is to meet with a qualified plastic surgeon.

Discover the Best Implant Type for Your Breast Enhancement

With so many things to consider with this procedure (including the best time of year to get breast augmentation), it’s best to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss the ideal options to achieve your breast augmentation goals. William Umansky, MD, and Jeffrey Umansky, MD, will always strive to provide you with all of the information you need and answer all of your questions so you can make the most informed decisions for your breast enhancement.

To schedule your consultation with one of our San Diego breast specialists, call (858) 281-4560 or fill out our online contact form. Start your journey to the full, shapely breasts you’ve always wanted today!