Saline Breast Implants vs Silicone Implants & Choosing Your Ideal Size

Saline Implant Benefits

  • More control over your look. Saline implants are filled to a precise size by your doctor. This gives him the ability to produce a better result.

Silicone implants do not allow for this; all silicone implants come pre-filled in manufacturer standardized sizes. Standardized sizing is not ideal for cosmetic procedures because our bodies are all unique and different.

  • Safer. If a saline implants leak, the sterile saline solution is absorbed by the body without harm. This is why saline is used in clinical applications such as IV therapy and wound care. Saline implant leakage is also easy to detect as it results in a quick deflation of the implant. Silicone implants leak slowly, because the gel is thicker. This makes leakages much harder to detect, which is particularly harmful because silicone can migrate to other parts of the body if the leakage is not caught in time.

Women who get silicone implants are supposed to get an MRI scan after the 3rd year, and every year thereafter. Because MRI’s range from $300 to $800 per session, many women skip this procedure and place themselves at risk of the consequences of silicone implant rupture. Saline implants have no such risk and therefore annual MRIs are not required.

  • Cheaper. Besides the MRI expense, saline implant procedures are less expense by around $1,000. The possible safety concerns of silicone implants forces more implant testing & higher prices.

Breast implants can help women feel better about themselves and raise their self-image, as well as increase or renew physical attraction of romantic partners.

Breast implants can help women feel better about themselves and raise self-image, as well as increase or renew physical attraction from romantic partners

  • Better track record. The medical community has a more thorough understanding of the long term history of saline breast implants. Silicone implants were recently released from a 13 year ban due to concern of long term safety issues. These concerns have mostly been alleviated with modern silicone implants, however.

Today, women under 22 years of age are still prohibited from having silicone implants. Saline implants do not have this restriction.

  • Lighter. Although the difference is relatively small, saline implants are lighter than silicone implants of the same size.
  • Less invasive procedure. Because silicone implants come prefilled, typically a wider hole must be cut under the breast for insertion of the implant. Saline implant shells are inserted first and then filled, resulting in minimal incision scarring compared to silicone.

Saline implants also allow for trans-axillary insertion, which inserts the implant through a small incision in the arm pit. This method completely removes scarring in the breast area.

Silicone Implant Benefits

  • More realistic feeling: Silicone does feel more like breast tissue. However, this is not always preferred. Many women desire a slightly firmer feeling emulating younger, tighter breast tissue and saline breast implants, when filled correctly, can offer this.

Keep in mind: Don’t make decisions of how an implant feels by touching them with your hands. Once inside your body, the difference in feeling between the implant and your natural tissues becomes sharply less noticeable, due to your skin and breast tissue covering the implants.

Myths about Saline

  • Saline implants look fake? This rumor was born after the popular television celebrity Pamela Anderson famously enhanced her appearance with a pair of saline breast implants. What you probably didn’t hear was that her reported size was 1000cc. If you don’t want to look like a celebrity sex icon, don’t get 1000  cc implants. Women getting 700cc and lower implants shouldn’t be concerned about looking “fake” (unless you desire the “Pam” look, of course).

There is nothing “faker looking” about a saline implant. Saline actually allows you to more precisely control the look you want, since your doctor chooses the fill amount instead of factory standardized silicone implant sizing.

  • Saline ripples more? This was a genuine concern in the past. Now, doctors regularly choose a shell that allows them to fill the implant by 10% to 30% extra volume to reach the desired amount of cc’s. With the implant is tightly drawn with fluid, there is a lack of space for rippling to occur. Also be aware that silicone implants also ripple, and can not be overfilled like saline implants.

Implant sizing comes down to many factors. Most important are personal preferences, as well as sizing appropriately to ensure proper fullness for your body.

Implant sizing comes down to many factors. Most important is sizing appropriately to ensure proper fullness for your body, as well as personal preferences for the look and style of the breasts

Choosing Your Implant Size

When trying to figure out what size you want, think in terms of your ideal range rather than a specific amount. Too many women are concerned about small amounts such as 400cc versus 430cc (an almost trivial size difference) and as a result, end up getting a size far outside of their correct proportions.

Implant Size Facts and Trends

  • The most common implant size women choose is 350cc.
  • By far the most common complaint that women have after their breast augmentation was not going big enough.
  • Under-sizing on the first surgery is understandable because most women are afraid of going to big and not of going too small. As a result, revision surgeries for size increases are extremely common.
  • The most popular size increase for average framed women between 5’2” to 5’5” tall is in the 400cc to 550cc range.
  • The roughly 100-150cc average increase is a good indicator of what most women under-size their implants by. One woman tells her tale:

What causes patient dissatisfaction with size?

  • Women with smaller breasts often feel that if they had “just a little more” then they would be content with their look. But this is a mindset that causes further dissatisfaction. If a woman gets an implant that lacks proper fullness for her body, quite often she will be discontent with her implant size.
  • To avoid this problem, think in terms of what would look ideal on your body, instead of what you think might look “good enough.” Implants do not come in cup sizes. It is very common for a woman who sets an arbitrary goal of a “C cup” (a common size goal) to be disappointed by her size choice.
  • When in doubt, go bigger. Women who feel they went too big are rare. But women who say they went too small are frequent and possibly even the majority of 1st time breast enhancement patients.
  • Don’t be intimidated by old and misleading stereotypes about breast size. Popular media often sends the message that DD cup breasts are very large or overly sexual. The truth is that the most common cup size in America is DD, with the D cup being the second most common size. There are many women who wear E-F cup bras (and these sizes also do not stand out in regular clothing).
These implants have a sexy look in lingerie and are still easily hidden away in work clothing

These larger implants have a sexy look in lingerie and are still easily hidden away in clothing

It really is your clothing, not your bra size, that controls your look. If the sizers end up showing you that DD breasts look the best, then choose them. It is far more important to have full, proportional breasts, than to restrict yourself to an arbitrary cup size.

  • Sizers (both Rice and Gel ones) appear significantly larger than the real thing. Implants in your body will shrink by 15-25% due to compression from your body. Sizers are also outside of your body, which again makes them look larger because they project outwards more than actual implants do. Remember to add at least 20% extra cc’s to the volume of your sizers to get more accurate size for your real implants.

Preparing for your Consultation

  • Don’t try to figure out all the details about texture, insertion method, sub-glandular vs sub-muscular placement, etc by yourself. These questions are best answered by a competent surgeon, so spend your time looking for a good one.
  • This  does not mean relying on the surgeon to choose your size, however. Only you can pick the right size for you. If you leave the size choice up to the surgeon, he will be conservative, and you will likely end up with mixed feelings with your new breasts (very common among women who don’t do their research). You have to choose your own size for satisfying results.
  • Use cheap, easy to make Rice Sizers to find your ideal size. Then adjust upwards 20% to get the amount of cc’s to use for your actual implants.
    • Example: If you like the look of 350cc sizers, your implants should be about 420cc.
  • Find photographs of the “look” you want by searching Google Images. Print them out, and bring them to your consultation. Nude breast pictures are better than bikini pics for showing the surgeon the look you desire.
  • It’s better to bring more pictures than not enough. You should also bring pictures of breasts that you don’t like to further help your doctor.

Things to remember at the doctor’s office

  • Your surgeon should have your best interests in mind. This has to do with your safety as well as the look you want. Unfortunately, some surgeons are responsible for high patient dissatisfaction because they do what they want, instead of what the patient wants.

If a surgeon tells you he won’t give you a certain size, or feels you should go with a look he suggests instead of what you showed him, you should get another opinion. No one knows what you’ll be happy with better than you do. Don’t let a surgeon’s own personal bias affect the outcome that you are looking to achieve.

  • Gel Sizers at the doctor’s office are not more accurate than your home-made ricer sizers for showing size. But they are more accurate for shape.
  • You’ll almost certainly think the Gel Sizers are “huge” when you first wear them. This is due to them being outside the body and uncompressed. Keep this in mind as you try them on.
  • The misleading appearance of gel sizers is perhaps the most common complaint from women after they’ve had their breast enhancement and seen what their breasts actually look like when inside their own body.

Anatomical Implants vs Round

Anatomical or “teardrop” implants are sloped at the top to emulate the natural sag of the breast that occurs over time.

Key Differences

  • Anatomical implants have a slight chance of turning within the pocket, creating a misshapen look. This does not occur often, but it is a concern. Round implants do not have this issue.
  • The key advantage of round implants is greater fullness at the upper pole of the breast, which results in a full, more attractive breast shape.
  • Round implants will sag over time just like anatomicals will. But because anatomicals are created with a sag appearance, round implants are actually better for maintaining a decent shape in the long run.
  • Round implants are by far the more popular option for these reasons.
An example of 2 distinct implant profiles. On the left is a high profile implant, and on the right is a moderate profile implant. Note the greater projection of the high profile implant. Mod+ implants are in-between the two styles.

An example of 2 distinct implant profiles. On the left is a high profile implant, and on the right is a moderate profile. Note the greater projection of the high profile implant. "Mod Plus" implants (not pictured) are a good middle ground between the two styles.

Implant Profile

“Implant Profile” is another word for the shape of a breast implant. Different implant profiles can have the same volume of cc’s and result in different looks.

Low Profile implants. These have a “pancake” shape which covers a large area (the “base width”) but has little outward projection. Low profile implants are not commonly used.

Moderate Profile implants. Have comparable dimensions to a circular pillow (though obviously much smaller). The area of the chest covered is moderate, though not as wide as the flatter, low profile implants. However, the outward projection is much better.

High Profile Implants. “HP” implants have the lowest base width coverage but the most outward projection, creating a very attractive, sexy look. High profile implants are the most popular profile implants used today.

Moderate “Plus” Profile. The newer Mod+ implants are also quite popular. Their shape is in-between the Moderate and High Profile implants. Their well balanced trade-off between base width and projection puts the Mod+ right behind HP implants in popularity.

Ending Notes and Summary

We hope this guide has been helpful for choosing the type and size of implant that is right for you. If you’re ready to take the next step, see here for instructions on building a Rice Sizer.


  • You can have the attractive, sexy look you want, and still dress down for work and other occasions. Even a woman with 700 cc implants who is dressed conservatively, will look modest in appearance. Breast implants do not control your image, the way you dress does.

  • Saline implants are less expensive than silicone by about $1,000, do not require annual MRI scans due to safety concerns, are custom filled to your unique body (unlike pre-filled silicone), and have a superior safety record with the FDA.
  • Don’t focus on getting a “C cup” or any other cup size. You will be disappointed by the result if you choose your size this way. Use rice sizers to determine cc volume and try out what looks best on your body. And contrary to popular belief, DD is the most common bra size, so don’t be afraid to go larger if it looks good on you.
  • Your 2 most important tools for a good result are using your own Rice Sizers to find your best size, and bringing breast pictures to your surgeon to show him the shape you want.
  • If your surgeon won’t let you get the size you desire, you should talk to another surgeon to get a second opinion. Oftentimes surgeons have their own personal biases and with such an important decision you need to be sure of getting what’s best for YOU.

Our best wishes go out to you during your journey. We hope your new breasts will give you an attractive new appearance and a greater self-image, as they already have for over 2.5 million women.