Saline Breast Implants on Thin Patients?

I am 19 years old and want to get breast implants. I am thin and do not have a lot of breast tissue. I am a size 32 A. I have heard saline implants are not good for thin skin because there will be rippling. I really want to get them soon and not have to wait until I'm 22 to get silicone implants. Can I still get good results with saline with no rippling, or would it be better if i waited until 22 to get silicone? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 7

Silicone Breast Implants on Thin 19 Year Old Patient?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

In my opinion, there is no good reason why there is an FDA  mandated age of 22 for patients to receive silicone breast implants. There are many patients under the age of 22 who would ( based on their body type and the advantages of silicone breast implants) benefit from the use of silicone gel breast implants. Unfortunately, the use of these implants for these younger patients will negate the breast implant manufacturer warranty.

I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

Saline and rippling

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Rippling is more common with thinner patients because there is not enought soft tissue coverage. This can happen with both saline and silicone.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Saline Breast Implants on Thin Patients? Not a yes or no answer

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The use of saline implants in thin patients is not a yes or no answer and neither is it related to one point in time. What works now, may or may not work 5 years from now with changes inyour body. If you plan on having children in the near future, I would defer this.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

For many patients saline implants are an excellent choice.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Many patients with saline implants are very happy with their choice. For years that was the only implant we had available. The implant pushes the breast tissue forward so what you feel is the breast tissue not the implant. This is especially true for smaller implants. Putting the implant under the muscle also gives another layer of coverage for the upper portion of the implant. There are other factors to consider - smooth implants may have less rippling than textured for example. I would recommend that you have a consult with a Board certified plastic surgeon and discull all your options. Then , based on your desires and your body frame , you will be able to make the best decision as to whether to proceed now or wait.

Susan E. Downey, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Saline implants can work very well in thin individuals

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

One of the drawbacks to the saline breast implant has been the tendency to show ripple, especially for those with very thin cover over the implant. Submuscular placement has solved the problem in the upper portion of the breast, however the implant still may be detectable in the lower portion and to the side of the breast. Despite this potential, patients with a saline implant enjoy a very low capsular contracture rate, and are not burdened with the thought of future MRI studies to determine if and when the implant has begun to leak. In our experience patients with saline implants have enjoyed them quite well, thin or not, and this should not discourage you from augmentation. As you are only 19, the first implant you wear will certainly not be the last, as no implant is likely to last a life time. You may chose a gel implant at the time of replacement in 10 years or so, though I feel you will have had 10 years or more satisfaction with the saline.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Saline implants and thin patients

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Remember that before Nov 2006 all we had available for a breast augmentation was saline implants. Therefore, many thin patients had saline implants placed with excellent results. Of course, silicone is a better choice but you have to consider your desires for timing of the surgery vs. the feel of the implant. If you choose an appropriately sized saline implant which is placed behind the muscle, you will have a good result and can have your surgery now. Use of silicone gel implants for patients under the age of 22 is considered off-label use at this time. So, if you want to have breast augmentation just make sure you don't choose too large of an implant and have it placed behind your muscle. If you can wait until you are 22, then you have the choice between silicone or saline. The best way to know is by consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

You must be 22 years old to have silicone breast augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The FDA has reallowed silicone breast implants to be used in women for cosmetic breast augmentation, but you must be 22 years of age to have surgery.

All implants in thin women carry the risk of rippling or the implant being visible or palpable (the ability to feel the implant beneath the skin).

Sometimes, the implant is placed in a partially submuscular position to decrease the risk of the upper pole of the implant from being visible.

So long as the augmentation result fits your frame and does not stretch the skin a tremendous amount, results can be natural, beautiful and rewarding, regardless of the type of implant fill material!

Be sure to visit a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon with experience in breast augmentation in young an thin women, and be sure to see before and after pictures of women with a similar body type and aesthetic goal to you!

Best of luck,

Karen M. Horton, M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.S.C.

Karen M. Horton, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.