Breast Augmentation: Silicone Vs Saline Implants


Breast augmentation also known as augmentation mammoplasty is the enlargement of the breasts involving the insertion of silicone or saline implants. The implants are usually inserted behind the chest muscle or breast tissue. Breast augmentation or boob job as it is sometimes referred to as a procedure that can:

  • Increase the volume of the breast in women who naturally have small breasts
  • Replace lost breast volume due to major weight loss or breastfeeding
  • Improve the shape of the breast
  • Create symmetry to the breasts if they are of different shapes and sizes

All breast implants have a shell that is made out of an inert polymer known as silicone. The surface of the shell can either be textured or smooth. Textured implants encourage the ingrowth of soft tissue into their small surface interstices and this tends to keep the implant stiffly in place. Smooth walled implants on the other hand have a tendency of subtly rolling around in their breast pocket and mimicking the movement of a natural breast.

Breast implants also differ in volumes, projection amounts and base widths. The best implant for a particular breast is usually carefully selected and matched to space in order to achieve the aesthetic goals of the patient.

Difference between saline and silicone implants

Although both saline and silicone implants both have an outer silicone shell, they differ in material and consistency.

Saline breast implants

Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water and they are available for women who are aged 18 years and older. During the procedure, a silicone shell is inserted into the body and filled to the desired volume with saline fluid by a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Some saline implants can be adjusted postoperatively via a remote injection port. This technique is mostly used in some breast reconstruction procedures to fine-tune the final implant volume over the course of several months. The implant port is usually removed once the desired volume is reached, or the saline implant will be replaced by a permanent silicone implant since it is softer.

Silicone implants

The molecules of silicone are stuck to one another in a cohesive matrix, making the silicone implant more viscous than saline. It is known to create a more natural look and feel to the breast. It is available for women who are 18 years and older for breast augmentation purposes. Silicone gel is not known to cause any human allergies.

Implant Rupture

The type of implant you have, whether silicone or saline, determines the approach to be taken if the implant ruptures.

Ruptured silicone implant

You may fail to notice it right away if a silicone breast implant rupture. This is due to the fact that the free silicone tends to remain trapped in the fibrous tissue which forms around the implant.

Although leaking silicone gel doesn’t normally cause any health concerns, it can eventually cause breast thickening, breast pain or changes in the shape or contour of the breast. If this occurs, surgical removal of the implant will be recommended but you can opt for a new implant to be inserted at the same time.

Ruptured saline implant

If a saline based breast implant ruptures, the implants deflate causing the affected breast to change shape and size.

You will need surgery to remove the silicone shell but your body will have absorbed the leaking saline solution without causing any health risks. New breast implants can be inserted at the same time once the ruptured saline implant is removed.


How breast implants have changed over the years

Since silicone gel breast implants were first created in the late 1960s, they have undergone several different technological improvements. Saline breast implants were created as an alternative to silicone breast implants and became popular in the 1990s and early 2000s.

In the last 20 years, there have been significant advances made in silicone gel implants. Currently, Plastic Surgeons are implanting the 7th and 8th generation of silicone breast implants. The newest silicone breast implants have a slightly high fill of 96% versus the previous ones of 85%. They also have more cross-linking of the silicone molecules thus increasing the cohesiveness of the breast implants.

Your Plastic Surgeon will recommend the best type of implant for you based on your body type and breast anatomy among other factors. However, you will get to decide whether you want saline or silicone implants.


Book your appointment for a consultation

Would you like to understand what options are available for Breast Augmentation in Dubai? Meet one of our experts at Al Shunnar Plastic Surgery for a personal consultation to develop a tailor-made plan for you. Contact us or Book an appointment and our patient care coordinators will identify the most suitable expert for you.