Do Saline implants appear larger than silicone?

I was trying on sizers at my pre-op appointment and was between 2 different sizes. She only had 650cc saline and no 600cc saline so she gave me 650cc silicone. She said, "since saline behaves and looks different, 650 silicones will look like 600cc salines". I'm getting saline implants and am curious if this is true? I'm going back on Wednesday to try them on again with my fiancé present. Thank you so much!

Doctor Answers 10

Saline larger than silicone implants?

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     A saline or silicone implant of the same volume should give the same enhancement to the breast.  It is possible that in the short term (first several months), saline implants may appear larger than silicone implants.  Any volume discrepancy in appearance should disappear after several months, since the volumes are the same.
     Differences in the implant surface (smooth vs. textured),  shape(round vs. anatomical),  and/or projection(low, moderate or high profile) will contribute to a different look within the breast but if the volumes are the same, the size increase will be the same.

Toledo Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Do Saline implants appear larger than silicone?

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Saline implants will tend to project more than saline and in my opinion, projection gives most patients the appearance of size.  More projection means the breast looks larger.  So I tell patients that a larger silicone implant will be necessary to look like a certain size saline.  Of course you must take in to account different styles of implants which project differently like moderate or high profile implants.

It shouldn't be an issue for you if you are having saline or silicone.  It makes a difference when a patient is changing or thinking of changing from one to the other.

Best of luck.

Ralph R. Garramone, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Saline vs Silicone Implant

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It is an interesting question regarding potential differences in appearance of saline  vs silicone implants. Some individuals believe there is a 25 cc difference in appearance with saline implants appearing larger while others maintain that the implants looks essentially the same. To complicate the matter further there may be differences in different shaped implants with the two components.

Saline vs. Silicone Breast Implant Sizes

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There are very slight differences in volumes between saline and silicone implants since they have different densities of the fillers. But on a practical basis there are no significant external differences in how their sizes will look. Assume from your standpoint that saline and silicone breast implant sizes will look the same. 

Sizers look bigger than implants, silicone vs. saline is not the issue

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If the saline implants are being put behind the muscle, the sizers will look about 40 cc larger than the implants after everything has settled.  It is not the saline vs. silicone issue so much as the sizer vs. permanent implant issue.

Size, contour, implant contents and appearance.

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Manufactures have a number of profiles of implants for any given volume. Usually the optimal size for saline implants will have the same dimensions as silicone filled implants. You should read about the pros and cons of both types of implants.  While there may be subtle differences based on the material filling the implant, the volume of both is the same. These are based on round implants of saline or silicone.  These may be a small difference if comparing a round saline implant with contoured gel implants.

You may want to do a little more research on the manufactures website and then discuss that further with your plastic surgeon.  It may be better to order the implant you prefer rather than accepting  what is currently available on the shelf.  These are important decisions for you and your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon would be glad to work with you to make the right decisions and achieve satisfaction.

John M. Weeter, MD
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Volume is volume

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There are different pros and cons to different implants, the most important is the feel and shape. However, volume is volume whether it is silicone or saline. I don't think you would be able to tell the difference from that perspective after your surgery.

Rodger Shortt, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Implant dimensions vary between sizers and implants

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Hi, I have attched a link that might be helpful...

Hi Meghen11. Every breast implant has a diameter and projection, and with shaped implants an additional measurement of height is provided-the sizers will be within millimeters of the actual saline implant.  Saline implants can be filled within approximately a 30-50 cc range depending upon the manufacturer, and this changes dimensions also within a few millimeters. Also, placing an implant with in a sizing bra always makes you appear larger than after an implant is placed under the muscle and other breast tissue. Keep in mind that 50 cc is a matter of tablespoons, not even half a cup.  At best you are getting an approximation when trying on sizers. Be sure to see a board certified Plastic surgeon. Best wishes for a great outcome!

Implant volume

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In general, implant volume is implant volume. They should appear similar in size whether you use saline or silicone. Best of luck.

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

Do Saline implants appear larger than silicone?

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Yes, there is a difference with how silicone gel implants sit on your chest wall (projection) compared to saline implants. Silicone gel implants may "mold" better to your chest cavity and therefore look "smaller" than the comparable size saline implant.  Ultimately, clear communication with your plastic surgeon is important in achieving the desired goals of the patient. Generally speaking, the best online advice I can give to ladies who are considering breast augmentation surgery ( regarding breast implant size/profile selection) is:
1. Concentrate on choosing your plastic surgeon carefully. Concentrate on appropriate training, certification, and the ability of the plastic surgeon to achieve the results you are looking for. Ask to see lots of examples of his/her work.
2. Have a full discussion and communication regarding your desired goals with your plastic surgeon. This communication will be critical in determining breast implant size/type/profile will most likely help achieve your goals.
In my practice, the use of photographs of “goal” pictures (and breasts that are too big or too small) is very helpful.  For example, I have found that the use of words such as “natural” or "C or D cup” etc means different things to different people and therefore prove unhelpful.
Also, as you know, cup size varies depending on him who makes the bra; therefore, discussing desired cup size may also be inaccurate. Again, the use of computer imaging has been very helpful during the communication process, in our practice.
3. Once you feel you have communicated your goals clearly, allow your plastic surgeon to use his/her years of experience/judgment to choose the breast implant size/profile that will best meet your goals. Again, in my practice, this decision is usually made during surgery, after the use of temporary intraoperative sizers.
I hope this (and the attached link, dedicated to breast augmentation surgery concerns) helps. Best wishes.

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.