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Dr. Jennifer Emmett, M.D.

Home Breast Augmentation What’s the Difference Between Saline and Silicone Breast Implants?

August 9, 2022

If you’re considering breast augmentation, you’re probably wondering which breast implants are right for you. What is the difference between saline and silicone implants?

Whether you’re looking for a breast lift, a “mommy makeover,” or breast reconstruction following breast cancer, you likely have many questions and concerns.

Dr. Emmett is a thoughtful, highly skilled, double-board certified plastic surgeon who promotes patient safety and comfort. She can help you make the best choice for your body and lifestyle.

Learn about breast augmentation, how implants have changed over the years, the differences between silicone and saline implants, and things to consider before deciding on an implant type.

Why breast augmentation?

There are various reasons why women choose breast enhancement surgery.

Women with naturally smaller breasts sometimes feel insecure about their bodies or not feminine enough. Breast implants can help improve their confidence, help them feel sexier, and make it easier to find bras and clothing that fits.

Weight loss and changes after pregnancy are other common reasons for breast lifts and implants. The body changes with weight fluctuations, sometimes negatively affecting a woman’s breasts, making them shrink or sag.

Breast implants can improve symmetry, which women often find appealing.

While it’s common for breasts to be asymmetrical, women typically feel more comfortable when they’re symmetrical.

It’s also typical for women who have had a mastectomy to look into breast reconstruction. Saline or silicone breast implants can rebuild a breast’s shape and help breasts match again.

How have breast implants improved over the years?

Silicone and saline breast implants were both introduced in the 1960s. Early implants had thick shells and gels and felt heavy.

By the 1980s, a thinner shell was developed, but these were fragile and tended to rupture and deflate. Still, breast implants were one of the most popular cosmetic procedures, as women wanted to achieve dramatic and noticeable results.

Today, breast augmentation is still the most popular type of cosmetic surgery, but the results women are looking for have changed.

Most women who want larger breasts want to increase breast volume and improve symmetry but want them to look and feel natural. Today’s women are usually looking for more subtle results compared to previous decades.

Over the years, implants have improved and become safer. Surgical techniques have also improved.  Breast augmentation is now a less invasive surgery with a rapid and less painful recovery.

Differences between silicone and saline

There are many things to consider before deciding on which types of implants are best for you.

The main differences include:

  • Substance inside the implants
  • Age requirements
  • Rupture risks
  • Look and feel
  • Cost
  • Incision size

Let’s break down each type of implant.


  • Made of a silicone case prefilled with silicone gel
  • 22-year-old age requirement
  • Ruptures can cause swelling or soreness
  • Soft to the touch and look, natural feel
  • Cost more than saline
  • Slightly larger incision needed


  • Made of a silicone shell filled with a sterile salt water solution
  • 18-year-old age requirement
  • Ruptures usually harmless, safer
  • Lightweight but more firm than silicone
  • More affordable choice
  • Minor incision size

Things to consider before deciding on an implant

One of the main things you may want to consider when you choose an implant is how it will feel and look on you.

If you already have moderately sized breasts, the difference between silicone and saline implants won’t be that great.

However, if you are small-breasted and petite, silicone implants would likely look and feel better on you, with a lower chance of rippling.

If you’re concerned about one implant lasting longer than another, both types of implants can last between 10 and 20 years.

Both saline and silicone implants can achieve a similar look, is FDA approved, and are considered safe if a reputable, board-certified surgeon performs your breast surgery.

Dr. Emmett will explain both types of implants to you, and you can share your needs and preferences with her.

Schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Emmett

Dr. Jennifer Emmett M.D., is a double-board certified plastic surgeon located in the greater Denver, Colorado area. She’s built a reputation that attracts patients from all over the country.

Dr. Emmett’s team is skilled in breast enhancement procedures, including breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lifts, and augmentation.

Dr. Emmett is also an expert in other plastic surgery procedures, including body lift, Brazilian butt lift, liposuction, tummy tuck, derma fillers, Botox, facelift, rhinoplasty, and neck lift.

Schedule an initial consultation to learn more about saline and silicone breast implants or other procedures to improve your look. Check out testimonials from former patients who are pleased with Dr. Emmett’s work and their results.

Contact us to learn more about our practice, specialties, financing, and how we can help you gain the self-esteem you deserve.