Although saline implant dont feel AS natural as silicone, is there really a big difference?

I already have a B Cup so it's not like I have small breast, I just want to know the diff the diff is THAT big?

Doctor Answers 8

The "Look-and-Feel" difference Between Saline and Silicone Implants

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We all know that silicone implants have a more natural look and feel as compared to saline implants, but how big a difference is this? The answer depends. It depends upon how much tissue you have to cover the implant.  The more tissue, as in breast tissue, fat, and muscle, that one has to cover the implant, the less noticeable the implant will be. For example, a woman with a C-cup breast probably has enough tissue to cover the implant so that the "look-and-feel" difference between saline and silicone implants would be really small, so she may choose the simpler and less expensive saline implants.  On the other hand, in a woman with an A cup breast and very little tissue, the implant will be much more noticeable(and therefore less natural in look and feel) and in this case she may be better served by silicone implants.  Other factors are the size of the implants and whether they are over or under the muscle; in general, larger implants and an over the muscle placement favor silicone implants.  An experienced Plastic Surgeon should be able to assess your situation and make a good recommendation.   I hope this helps and best wishes!

Saline vs silicone

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In your hand, a gel implant has a feel of soft tissue, while a saline implants feels like a water balloon. 

If you put the two implants on a table, not unlike the situation with the implants sitting on the chest wall, the difference is less noticeable.

Imagine now covering the implants with a layer of soft tissue, the difference with be still less noticeable. 

Now your question, is there really a big difference?

As a rule of thumb, if the final breast will be over half implant, I think the advantage of silicone is clear. So a patient going from A to D will have a much nicer feel to the breast with gel. A patient going from C to D may not notice any difference. 

But beside overall feel, the other issue can be ripples, which are much more common in saline than in silicone. Usually this is a "feel" issue, but sometimes they are visible. 

Nationally, about 80% of implants are silicone. Some of the 20 % are women under 22 for whom silicone is not available. This represents general surgeon preference and general patient preference. 

I hope this helps. Remember that both products will give nice improvement, and that six years ago surgeons were not bad-mouthing saline when that was all there was!

Thanks and best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Saline vs Silicone? Can you feel the difference?

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I would agree 100% with my colleague form New Haven  It really depends on where the implant is placed (sub glandular vs sub muscular) and how much breast tissue the individual has to cover the implant.   In my practice women who are 35 and over tend to favor the silicone implants and women in their 20's tend to favor the saline implants.  Overall we are favoring silicone implants more but the cost is slightly higher.  

Mary Ella Carter, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon


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The look of the saline implants is no different than the silicone implants. The feel will differ depending on how much coverage the implant has. The more breast and muscle there is to cover the implant the softer it will feel and look.

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

In the Saline vs. Silicone comparison, feel isn't the only consideration: beautiful, natural looking results with both.

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Dear embracing_beauty:  In my opinion, the difference is minimal in most patients.  If your surgeon feels that your tissues are too thin for a saline implant, then silicone gel may be better for you. 

The decision should consider patient, surgeon and implant issues.  As many other surgeons mention, thin tissues and a large implant are less natural feeling, regardless of implant type, but somewhat more so with saline.  I recommend considering that implants are temporary devices, leakage will probably occur, and replacement will be needed.  Detecting and replacing a deflated saline implant is much easier than with silicone gel.  Saline allow smaller incisions and small differences in breast size can be adjusted. 

Form-stable gel implants are not yet FDA approved, but may be soon.  Cohesive silicone gel implants may be better if your surgeon thinks a shaped textured implant will give you better appearance.  Leakage from newer gel implants may not need capsulectomy for thorough removal. 

Discuss all issues with your board certified plastic surgeon before making your decision, and best wishes to you.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon

Patients prefer Silicone Breast Implants

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Although it is true that if you have a great deal of breast tissue to cover the implant, there is less difference in the feel. At this point, almost all of my patients get silicone implants. Patients who used to have saline implants and switch to silicone implants like the way they feel much better. The silicone implant looks and feels more like a natural breast.

Saline versus silicone

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You can feel the difference by holding sample implants.  However, the real question how is different they feel once implanted.  This depends on the amount of soft tissue coverage and the placement of the implants.  Silicone implants are twice as expensive as saline, if cost is a primary consideration.  The larger the implant, the more important to have the feel of silicone, in my opinion.  I also favor silicone if the implant will be placed above the muscle.  There are many factors to consider in breast augmentation-from the size to the shape to the placement to the material--not to mention incision sites and the selection of the surgeon!  It requires a great deal of collaboration with your plastic surgeon and deliberative thought processes---so take your time and think everything through!! Best of luck!

Saline versus Silicone Implants

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As mentioned in the answers below, it really depends on a lot of factors.  In addition to the ones mentioned by the other surgeons(all of whom offer good points), is the issue of personal preference.  I tell patients that have little or no breast tissue that saline implants will not feel as soft and are more prone to have palpable rippling than silicone.  For women with more tissue and a subpectoral placement, either will feel okay.  If patients will be at all bothered by the potential feel of rippling, I recommend that they go with silicone.  If a little rippling will not bother them, saline are a viable option.

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.