Breast Implant Exchange: Switching from Saline to Silicone

The most common reason women chose to change their breast implants is to change the size. Some go smaller but the majority of implant exchanges are to go a little bit bigger.

That being said, I’ve seen plenty of women on Instagram and in my private breast augmentation community, Bustmob who choose to change their breast implant type.

Switching breast implant type

There’s a few reasons that spring to mind why you might choose to change your breast implant type.

If you’ve already got saline implants, you may choose to switch to silicone if:

  • You have a rupture - if one (or both) of your saline breast implants has ruptured/deflated, you may chose to get a revision with silicone implants rather than get another saline implant.

  • You’ve had your saline implants a long time - between 1996- 2006 the only FDA approved breast implants for breast augmentation surgery in the US were saline.

  • You want a more natural feel - saline breast implants tend to feel firmer whereas silicone implants feel softer, squishier, and have a more natural-like breast tissue feel.

  • You’re experiencing rippling of your saline breast implants.


Getting the right fit

Saline and silicone breast implants differ in both their fill material and their consistency (how the material inside them moves and feels).

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Imagine a saline breast implant is like a water balloon… and imagine it full and you’ll understand how it can feel firm!

Saline breast implants can be filled to either the ‘shell volume’ or the ‘fill volume’. What this means is that the volume of a saline implant isn’t fixed. They have a minimum (shell volume) and maximum (fill volume) volume, with about 40-50cc difference between the two.

If you were switching from saline to silicone (but not changing the size of your implants) you may be wondering how you can achieve the same volume.

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Without trying to be confusing… while it can be great to know what the volume of your saline implant is, the number of cc’s of your saline implant is NOT the volume of implant you’ll need for your silicone implant exchange!

This is because the volume of the saline implant you get will only be the FILLING (i.e. the amount of saline solution) and it doesn’t include the volume of the shell.

Whereas…. the cc’s of a silicone implant includes BOTH the filling AND the shell total.

So, for example, a saline breast implant that’s filled to 350cc is actually bigger than that! It’s only by about 15-20cc bigger (when we include the implant shell) BUT… it means your equivalent silicone breast implant would need to be about 370cc.

So, switching from saline to silicone requires a little bit of math! This isn’t something you need to figure out on your own though. Your Board Certified plastic surgeon will (during a consultation) figure out the right size silicone implant for your implant exchange.

Phew!

It’s just worth being aware that, due to the differences between the types of breast implants, an exchange from saline to silicone is a bit of a numbers game!

If there’s nothing wrong with your saline breast implants, there’s no reason to exchange them. If, however, you’re unhappy with the look or feel of your saline breast implants you may be considering an exchange to silicone implants. Your Board Certified plastic surgeon will be able to expertly guide you to the right choice to achieve your (refined) augmentation goals.