Choosing Breast Implants: Saline vs Silicone Gel Implants

If you are considering a breast augmentation, one of the decisions you will have to make is choosing a saline or silicone gel implant. You’re not alone if you have many questions about which implant may be right for you.

For several years, saline implants were the only type of implant available except under special circumstances but, silicone implants were approved for general use in 2006 by the FDA and in 2006 by Health Canada. At Fairview Plastic Surgery, the majority of implants used are silicone gel.

This article gives you a round-up of the saline-filled and silicone gel-filled implants. If you’re considering breast implants, this article is for you.


An outer silicone shell surrounds both the saline and silicone-gel implants.  This is important as the part that is in contact with your body is the same (silicone) in both cases. Saline implants are inserted into the breast while they are empty and are filled with sterile saline (salt water) once the implant is in the breast. This means that the incision site can be smaller since the implant is inserted as an empty shell. Silicone implants are filled with silicone gel and they are inserted at their full volume and size.

Leaky Implants

One of the complications that can occur following breast augmentation is the development a leak in the implant. The membrane shell of the implant breaks and the contents inside the implant leaks into the space surrounding the implant. When a saline implant ruptures, the saline solution inside the implant will leak into the area and the implant immediately deflates. So, with a saline implant, you’ll notice immediately when the implant ruptures.

Silicone implants contain a thick gel that mimics the feel of body fat. This can help with a more natural look and feel to the breast implant. If the silicone gel implant were to be cut, the gel inside doesn’t pour out because of its cohesive nature. If a silicone gel implant were to rupture, you could go months or years without knowing about the damage to the implant.

Previously, there was an issue with oil leaking through the membranes of the older model silicone gel implants, but this issue has been solved with thicker silicone membranes to prevent the materials inside the implant from leaking out of the implant membranes.


If you’re worried about your breast implants rippling, you should know that saline implants are known to ripple more commonly than the more cohesive silicone gel implants which tend to maintain their shape.

Silicone breast implants are available in a variety of shapes. For example, gel implants may be round or tear-drop shaped, and they may have different degrees of projection.

Which is right for you?

When it comes to breast implants, you have options. At Fairview Plastic Surgery, we work with both types of implants. Whether you’re looking for a saline or the more popular silicone implant, we can help you decide which implant will be right for you in a one-on-one consultation.

About Fairview Plastic Surgery & Skin Care Centre: Dr. Cameron Bowman is a fully trained aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon. His practice is located at Suite 480 – 999 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Z1K5. Contact him at 604.734.1416 or