Since the dawn of time, man has struggled to answer two questions: “What is the meaning of life?” and “Do fake boobs float?” Ask any woman with her natural breasts and she’ll likely tell you that they float a little, about enough to sit on top of the bathwater. But what of their augmented counterparts? How does the everyday breast implant affect a woman’s ability to relax in the neighborhood pool? While modern medicine has made enough advances in plastic surgery to turn humans into living Barbie dolls, little research is available on the web to answer this burning question.

Weighing in on Implant Weight

The basic question really lies in a matter of weight: do breast implants weigh more or less than natural breasts enough to help a person sink or float? To begin, an understanding of the types of breast implants available is important to grasp. Conventionally, the two types of breast implants are saline and silicone. Saline implants can come pre-filled or can be filled during the augmentation, and consist of a simple silicone sack of saltwater. Silicone implants involve a similar outer casing, but are filled with a thicker silicone gel substance. Because saline is just saltwater, it can safely be assumed that a breast implant made from saltwater would have little bearing on sinking and/or floating.


Effects of Water Pressure on Implants

Any person who made that observation would be absolutely right. A study conducted by the Divers Alert Network (DAN) on issues surrounding female scuba divers which tested saline, silicone, and saline-silicone hybrid implants in a simulated dive saw the fewest changes in breast volume occurred in the saline implant. The study did note that silicone, being more dense than water, could have an effect on a diver’s buoyancy if they were large enough, but it could be counteracted with a simple adjustment of the weight of a diver’s gear. It is important to note that this study was done in a hyperbaric chamber to simulate the atmospheric pressure felt on the body during recreational scuba diving, and no implant, saline or silicone, saw anything more than a 4% increase in volume, making the changes virtually undetectable.

Putting the Question to Rest

Most people with this question, however, are not scuba diving regularly. They only wonder about what happens when they take a dip at the local pool. The answer, not surprisingly, will most likely be nothing. Breast implants are different from the weight of the natural breast, but not by much. While fatty tissue weighs slightly less than water, saline will, as mentioned, weighs roughly the same, and silicone, slightly more. The differences between the natural tissue and a breast implant are minor, and, to the untrained eye, virtually undetectable. Post-surgery breasts are no more likely to drown you than they are to save you from drowning. So, when your friend tells you she wants to get large implants to have a built in life-jacket, you can conclusively tell her to take some swimming lessons instead.