Are Saline or Silicone Implants Better for Tubular Breasts?

At 20 years old, I have tubular breasts set far apart and have been looking into mastoplexy surgery. I understand that there are two options: saline or silicone implants. I am aware that the FDA has not approved silicone implants for patients under 22, but I am unsure if having tubular breasts allows for them, considering it's technically a deformity and would be considered a reconstructive procedure. I fear that although saline implants may temporarily correct the problem, I won't be satisfied.

Doctor Answers 18

Tubular breast deformity-silicone or saline?

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There are many factors that lead to an aethetically pleasing result.  The use of Silicone vrs Saline is not one of them as both can create excellent results.  The key to a good result is identifying the problems and correcting them.  Not all tuberous breasts are the same.  Some require an uplift and implant , some require only an implant.  All will require some type of expansion of the lower part of the breast to create fullness here because natural breast tissue is absent in the tuberous breast.  There are many different responses that have been posted to your question, but the best sugical approach really depends on what your breasts look like. Please discuss this thouroughly with your plastic surgeon. 

Short Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Implants for tubular breasts

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The treatment of tubular breasts in our practice usually consists of

- not selecting a size larger than the base diameter of the breasts (or they bulge out)

- using relaxing incisions (these only help to a degree)

- using higher profile implants (that maximize the volume given the small base diameter)

- performing a periareolar lift for the baggy areolar area.

Patients must be realistic about their outcomes.  The choice of which implant is a personal one based on weighting the risks, necessity of getting MRI studies after silicone gel implants, etc.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

The best implant approach for tubular breasts

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For a procedure like this I’d recommend strongly that you consult with a board certified plastic surgeon with quite a bit of experience in augmentation and cases of tubular breasts. You’ll be able to do a physical examine and determine what specifically your best options may be.
Generally, tubular breasts require a surgical release of the lower breast. As a result, there is often not a lot of breast tissue covering the implants. Since saline implants have much more visible rippling when there is thin tissue coverage, I recommend silicone breast implants for most tubular breast augmentation patients. Again, consulting with your surgeon is important as a first step… then you can map out your game plan.

Scott W. Mosser, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Saline or Silicone Breast Implants

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Dear Snikki,

The question of whether to select a silicone or saline implants comes up dailey. Either implant can give you a beautiful result. Having tuberous breasts should not particularly influence your decision. Rather I suggest patients consider the advantages of each and weigh it against their comfort level with the complication rates for each type.

Best of luck

Bernard A. Shuster, MD, FACS
Hollywood Plastic Surgeon

Are Saline or Silicone Implants Better for Tubular Breasts?

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In general I prefer silicone implants for all breast work as I think they feel more natural and are better implants. For tubular breast treatment you are having reconstructive work,  therefore, you are eligible for silicone implants. The comments about the severity of the deformity are very germane so without a picture it is difficult to be more specific. I suggest you find a surgeon you are comfortable with and let them guide you.

Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Correcting Tubular breasts

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Tubular or constricted breasts can be improved with or without breast implants and may require additional incisions to improve the shape of the breasts. It all depends on the severity and complexity of your case and what look you would like to achieve. I recommend consulting with a board certifed plastic surgeon to discuss the best and safest possible options for you. During your examination, your surgeon will let you know whether you are a good candidate for saline or silicone gel depending on your body type. Silicone gel is the more naturally feeling of the two and is recommended for patients who have very little breast tissue to begin with and a low percentage of body fat. Saline implants can provide a fuller look but has a higher risk of rippling and palpation of the implants if you do not have enough coverage. Providing photos of what look you would like to achieve will be very helpful to your surgeon. Communication is very important between you and your surgeon. Good luck and take care. 

Age limitation for breast implants

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Tubular breast correction is easier with implants, but they are not absolutely necessary. Both silicon and saline implants are approved for reconstruction in any age, so you should be able to select either, as long as you are not primarily augmentating the breasts. Make sure you talk to a Plastic Surgeon with significant experience in breast surgery.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Breast implants - are an integral part of the treatment for tubal breasts.

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The treatment of the tubular breast is complicated. Implants are only one part. Saline and gel implants both work well. Gel implants generally feel and look more natural - so in general I prefer them. Specifically for the tuberous breast the inferior pole can be quite thin after it's treated ( scorred) so gel is definitely better.

Saline or silicone for tuberous breasts

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This is a case of its not the wand but the magician.  Both implants work equally well although I prefer silicone in general.  The important point here is that the operation is done right, very often by using a bi planar approach and scoring the undersurface of the breast.  The key is not to do a vertical lift as this will increase the lower pole tightness.  You want to expand the lower pole as much as possible.  I have just started using alloderm to expand the lower pole allowing me to do more radial release.  

Again, the key here is the operation and not the implant.  Good luck, Dr. Schuster in Boca Raton

Silicone and saline both work well in a tuberous breast

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The tuberous breast is characterized by a tight skin envelop and a constriction around the nipple causing a 'herniation' or protrusion of the nipple. The breast is often small and implants, both saline and silicone have been very successful in correction of the breast shape. The key is in release of the breast constriction and correction of the nipple herniation. Either implant can perform very nicely and give a lasting pretty result. I feel you would be satisfied with a saline implant, and over years when your implant has worn, you can easily change to a gel if  you wish.

Best of luck,


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

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.