Saline vs Silicone, when exchanging Saline to Silicone, do the sizes and profiles compare equally?

If I am replacing Mentor 275 (overfilled 310) "SALINE" implant #3501640, with a Mentor "SILICONE" implant, are both implants equivalent to each other? If not, what size and profile of the "Silicone" would compare to the current "Saline" implant?

Doctor Answers 5

Differences between the saline and silicone shapes

Great question.  No, the shapes are not exactly the same when comparing the saline and silicone implants.

For example, a high profile silicone is more similar in shape to a moderate-plus / medium profile saline, while a high profile saline looks rounder still.

Since this is fairly complicated, discuss with your surgeon.  They'll have a chart in the implant company's catalog where you can look at the various dimensions of the implants.

Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Saline vs Silicone, when exchanging Saline to Silicone, do the sizes and profiles compare equally?

Thank you for the question.  Yes, there is a difference when placing saline vs. silicone gel breast implants but online consultants will not be able to provide you with specific enough advice to be truly helpful. Ultimately, careful communication of your goals (in my practice I prefer the use of goal pictures, direct examination/communication in front of a full-length mirror, in bra sizers, and computer imaging) as well as careful measurements (dimensional planning) will be critical.

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 “very natural” 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 for an outcome that you will be very pleased with.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Changing saline for silicone is "apples and oranges" in sizing

The saline and silicone sizes are not exactly a one for one exchange. Generally, to keep a similar look from the saline moderate profile you need a moderate plus silicone of the same base diameter. Your doctor needs to know what you have and use the catalog to help get the best implnt for the exchange. If you change a moderate saline for a moderate gel, you will be smaller than you are currently.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Not exactly

Thanks for this important question. Saline and silicone breast implants are similar but not exactly equal with regards to their dimensions. Additionally, as you begin to "overfill" saline implants the base gets narrower and the dimensions change usually creating more projection. Mentor's website has a display of all the dimensions for saline and silicone breast implants for your reference. Best, Dr. ALDO :)

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 202 reviews

Saline vs Silicone, when exchanging Saline to Silicone, do the sizes and profiles compare equally?

As others have stated the saline and silicone do not match in shape for the same volume implant. Your surgeon can use the manufacturers sizing chart to make the appropriate match.

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.