Are Saline and Silicone's Implants Shells the Same Thing?

Are saline and silicone's outershell the same thing? i know saline has a silicone shell filled with saline water, so does the silicone implants have the same thing?

Doctor Answers 12

Silicone vs Saline Implants: Are the shells the same ?

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Thanks for the question. 

The shells are similar in the sense that they are both made of silicone. However, the gel implant shell tends to be a little thicker than that of the saline implant. Additionally, the gel implants shells have no valves as compared to the saline implants.  

For further information, visit the Mentor and Allergan websites, as they are rich with details and specifics about the implants.

Warmest Regards,

Glenn Vallecillos, M.D., F.A.C.S. 

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Implant shells are the same

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Each manufacturer makes the shells for their implants, whether saline or silicone.  Obviously the saline implant has a valve in it also.  That is the only difference.

Randy Proffitt, MD
Mobile Plastic Surgeon

New silicone and saline implant shell

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An experienced surgeon can recommend what is most attractive and best for you. But yes, the implant shells are the same in both saline and new silicone implants.

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The Same

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Yes. The outer shell of the two types of implants are virtually identical except for the valve which is present in the outer shell of a saline filled implant and which is absent in a silicone gel filled implant.

George Sanders, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Breast implants

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The shell of saline and silicone gel implants are similar but not exactly the same.  The shell of the silicone implants are essentially "thicker" than it's saline counterpart.

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Saline and silcone implants both have a silicone outer shell

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The outer walls of the silicone and saline implants are both made from a silicone elastomer. The structures and composition are slightly different but they are essentially the same.

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

Breast Implant shell

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Silicone and saline implants have essentially the same outer shell and the reaction to the body should be similar.

Walter D. Gracia, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

The cover on the saline and silicone implant are very similar

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Both the saline and silicone implants depend on a silicone rubber elastomer shell which is very similar in both implants. The silicone rubber, not to be confused with silicone gel, is semipermeable. This means that the water molecules actually move in and out of the saline implant in 'circulation' with your body. The salt molecules are too big and say inside. In the case of a silicone gel implant, the silicone rubber will allow a certain amount of silicone bleed, though this has been reduced, hence low bleed shells, by a layering of the rubber, and a chemical coating on the inside to reduce the bleed of gel through the shell.

Best of luck,


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

Silicone and Saline Breast Implants Both Have Silicone Shell

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Basically the answer is yes and no.  The gel implants silicone shell is different in three ways.  It is thicker, polarized and valveless.  However it is made of silicone like the saline implants. Silicone gel breast implants have a more engineered shell that is trilaminate with a polarized inner shell and a hydrophobic outer shell.  The shell on the gel implants are also slightly thicher as well.  Other differences include the abscence of a fill valve.  Allergan and Mentor are the two main US providers of implants.  On their web sites they go into a lot greater detail. 

Charles Perry, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Implant shells

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Yes, the outside envelope or shell for saline and silicone implants are essentially the same thing. 

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.