Silicone or Saline? Let Your Tissue Properties Guide Your Decision

breast implant sizeIf you’re considering breast augmentation, you face two major decisions. First, how large should your new implants be? Second, should you opt for saline or silicone implants? A new research study conducted by experts at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and McMaster University recently revealed information regarding these questions that will help guide all future augmentations to be as successful as possible.

Tissue-Based Planning

According to the research, tissue-based planning (TBP) is the best approach to primary breast augmentation implant size selection. Tissue-based planning involves taking measurements of the soft tissue of the breast and assessing the tissue characteristics like elasticity, fullness, and firmness. The data is then used for a systematic determination of implant size that utilizes information from thousands of previous breast augmentations.


It’s so important to consider the dimensions and characteristics of the breasts while selecting an implant size. When the breast envelope is tight, less volume can fit inside, but a lax breast envelope invites a larger implant. Tissue thickness and stretchability contribute to making the choice of implant size more precise. TBP takes away the guesswork and offers a strategic method in order to obtain the best results possible.


According to study authors William Adams Jr., M.D. and Daniel McKee, M.D, “The top ten studies based on methodological quality all used patients’ breast dimensions before selecting final implant dimensions, and this should now be considered standard practice based on our analysis. Going forward, new published systems should use rigorous quantitative methods so that comparisons can be made in terms of patient outcomes.”

Don’t Trust the Rice

Placing different sized bags of rice in a bra is a common at-home method for selecting breast implant size, but it’s a dangerous and flawed system due to the differences in breast tissue tightness and laxity from woman to woman. Two woman might select the same size rice bag during their experiments, but if one has small, tight, perky breasts and the other has lax breasts after giving birth to and breastfeeding three children, the implant size suggested by the rice will generate dramatically different results for each woman. As Adams and McKee explain, breast dimensions are the most reliable way to select implant size.

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