Saline or Silicone: What’s the difference between breast implants?

When it comes to breast augmentation surgery, there are several decisions to be made regarding implant type and size, incision shape and implant placement. During your consultation with Dr. Dick, you will discuss these options and what would work best with your own breast tissue and anatomy to determine the best approach for desired results. One of the biggest decisions is what type of implant: saline or silicone gel. Here are some of the major differences between the implant types:

Silicone gel

About 75 percent of patients choose silicone gel implants. These are the most popular because they feel most like natural breast tissue. These implants consist of an outer silicone shell filled with a gelatin-like silicone gel. Silicone gel implants are pre-filled at a pre-determined size, which means your surgeon will need to make a larger incision to insert them.

One disadvantage to silicone gel implants is that if the implant ruptures, you may not know about it until your regular check-up with your surgeon. Technological advances have made silicone gel more cohesive so that should the implant rupture or leak, the gel is more likely to remain in the shell.


Saline implants begin as empty silicone shells and then filled with sterile sale water once in place in the breast tissue. This implant type gives the surgeon more flexibility with size and shape. If the implant should rupture, the body will naturally absorb and expel any fluid.

Implant incision types

No matter which implant type you choose, the incisions for insertion will be made in one of several ways. Inframammary involves a 1- to 2-inch incision in the crease underneath the breast, making the resulting scar easily concealed. A peri-areolar incision is made around the outer edge of the areola to make the resulting scar blend in with the natural transition in pigmentation between the areola and breast skin. A trans-axillary incision is made within the armpit, through which the surgeon will place the implant into the breast pocket, leaving no visible scar on the breast itself. A transumbilical incision is made just above the belly button, through which the implant is inserted and guided up into the breast pocket. This is another incision type where there is no scarring on the breast.

If you’re interested in learning more about your breast augmentation options, call (301) 251-2600 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dick.

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