Breast Implant Basics

Implant PlacementThere are several types of breast implants available. For many of them the patient will have a choice on the placement of the implant.

You can have your implants placed above the muscle (subglandular) or below the muscle (subpectoral).

Your plastic surgeon will decide which placement location is best for you based on your goals, breast type and other factors.

The location choice will be part of your surgical plan.

Types of Implants

Types of ImplantsThe most common implant design used in the United States involves the use of a shell and a filler to create the volume in the implant. Pictured are the two most popular: silicone filled on the left and saline filled on the right. They both offer certain advantages, but they each have certain disadvantages compared to the other. Here is a breakdown of some of the differences between these two models:

Saline Implants


  • Peace of mind for those who are unsure of silicone gel
  • Leaks are easily detectable
  • Increased projection when desired
  • For purely cosmetic breast augmentation can be used at age 18
  • Slightly lower capsular contracture rate


  • Higher risk of rippling
  • More easily palpable (feels less natural in most cases)
  • Increased projection when not desired
  • Stiffer result
  • Slightly higher leakage rate

Silicone Gel Breast Implants


  • Softer more natural feel
  • Lower risk of rippling
  • Decreased projection when desired
  • Moves more like a natural breast
  • More profiles (shapes) available


  • Leaks are harder to detect
  • Decreased projection when desired
  • Slightly higher capsular contracture rates
  • Body makes scar in response to a leak
  • For purely cosmetic breast augmentation can be used at age 22 or older

Gummy Bear Implants

Gummy Bear ImplantsThese implants are relatively new to breast augmentation. They are FDA approved and consist of a silicone shell that is pre-­filled with a higher concentration of silicone gel than regular silicone implants. The increased cross­-linking of silicone bonds results in a firmer silicone gel that does not usually leak if a rupture occurs.