Women considering breast augmentation may be aware of the two different types of implants, but many have questions about the differences between silicone and saline. Which is a better fit for you? Read on to learn more about the differences between these implants.

Saline Implants

Filled with sterilized salt water, saline implants leave little scarring because they are filled after being inserted. The size can be adjusted once placed to ensure symmetry. Less expensive, but also less natural looking, these implants require women to have sufficient breast tissue prior to surgery to prevent being able to see of feel rippling of the bag through the skin. In the rare case of ruptures, the saline is safely reabsorbed by the body.

Silicone Implants

With a natural look and feel, silicone implants are ideal for women with minimal breast tissue prior to surgery. Although safety was once a concern, the modern version of silicone implants have been in use since 2006 and are very safe. Since ruptures are difficult to detect in silicone implants, it is suggested by the FDA and manufacturer that women get an MRI three years after surgery, and every two years thereafter.

Implant Shell

Both types of implants utilize a man-made silicone shell made of polymer, which is also used in contact lenses. This material is low toxicity and not prone to reacting with other chemicals.

Shapes of Implants

Breast implants can be round or shaped like teardrops. Many women prefer the fullness and cleavage of round implants. This shape is also less likely to wrinkle, and it’s less noticeable if shifting occurs. Round implants are also less expensive than teardrop-shaped implants.

Teardrop-shaped implants are popular among women who undergo breast reconstruction. These implants are only made with silicone filling, and a textured surface prevents slipping.

Which is Best: Silicone or Saline?

Choosing the best implant is an individual decision for women who undergo breast augmentation surgery. Understanding the pros and cons of each will help a patient and doctor make the best decision.

Implant Ruptures

Although resistant to ruptures, even during mammograms, saline implants are safely absorbed back into the body if ruptured. Silicone ruptures are more difficult to detect, which is why the FDA recommends regular MRI scans to check for ruptures.


Saline implants require a smaller surgical opening, ideal for women concerned about scarring. Pre-filled silicone implants require a larger opening, but careful placement can minimize scar visibility.

We invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Howland‘s office if you would like to know more about silicone and saline implants. We look forward to discussing your concerns and answering any questions you might have about breast augmentation.