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Breast Implant Types Explained

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Whether you’ve decided to take the plunge or are still on the fence about breast augmentation, having as much information as possible about implant options is vital. Breast implant surgery, or breast augmentation mammoplasty, provides a way to enhance and add volume to the breasts. Modern implants offer a wide variety of choices for size, shape, placement, and texture. 

How do you decide what is right for you? Choosing the right implants can be based on preference, anatomy, and overall aesthetic end goals. 

Breast Implant Material

Most women considering breast implants are aware of the two most common options: saline and silicone implants. But did you know that technically they are both made of a silicone outer shell? The difference is that silicone implants are pre-filled with a silicone gel, while saline implants are filled with sterile saline after implantation. The most popular choice is silicone gel implants, which can have a more natural feel and look, but they require a bit of a larger incision since they are pre-filled. 

Saline implants are filled after they are placed in the chest so the shell can be folded and inserted through a smaller incision. Saline implants usually don’t look or feel as natural but are great for patients seeking high upper pole fullness or volume in the top part of the breast. 

A third type of implant, known as gummy bear implants or form stable implants, are made with highly cohesive silicone that provides a firm, natural feel and the added benefit of no leakage in the rare case of a rupture. 

An additional option for implant material involves fat grafting or fat transfer. This is just what it sounds like, moving fat from one area of the body to the breast. Liposuction is used to remove fat from an area with some excess from the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks. The fat cells are then treated, prepared, and injected into the breast tissue. This is an excellent option for women who want a subtle change, prefer no foreign materials in their bodies, and may want some unwanted fat removed from other areas. 

Breast Implant Shape

Breast implant shape is another variation that must be considered prior to augmentation mammoplasty. The two primary implant shapes are round and teardrop. Round implants have a rounded contour on the upper portion of the breast, which results in a full upper portion and lots of noticeable cleavage. Teardrop implants, also known as anatomical implants, offer a natural contour in the upper breast, just as you would have with real breasts. This provides an incredibly natural slope to the breasts whether you're standing or lying down.

Breast Implant Sizing

Deciding on the size of your implants may be the most obvious, but there is more nuance than you might suspect. Implant sizing is measured in CCs (cubic centimeters), not by cup size as many think. Since CCs are a small unit of measurement, there can be very precise variation which allows you to choose implants that are in perfect proportion for your body type. This means, for example, that a particular round silicone implant could be offered in 20 different sizes with just 25 CCs of volume difference between each size. 

Another factor that should be considered is the placement of the implant, and this is often determined in part by either implant size or, sometimes, the material. There are three types of placement, subglandular, submuscular, and subfascial. Subglandular placement is beneath the breast tissue but above the muscle, while submuscular placement is below the chest muscle wall. Both have their specific pros and cons. A third, less commonly used type is subfascial, which places the implant beneath a thin layer of fascia that covers the muscle. This method is growing in popularity as it blends some of the pros of the other two methods. Whether you may want to breastfeed in the future is also something to discuss with your surgeon when determining placement. 

What Else Should I Know?

There are so many choices! And we didn’t even cover incision type, texture, profile, or complementary procedures. Mammoplasty surgery can also include techniques such as breast lift or breast reconstruction which could be performed separately or in addition to implants. The best way to determine what the ideal selections are for you is to meet with a qualified and experienced surgeon like Dr. Ran Stark, who can determine precisely what is best for you and your unique situation. With Dr. Stark, selecting the most ideal implants is achieved with your body type, preferences, and goals in mind and is possible during a fully customized consultation experience.

Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Ran Stark brings decades of experience and training to each consultation. When you meet with Dr. Stark, he takes the time to give you information and options, so you can have confidence in your decision to move forward with the best procedure for you. Confidence. Personalized care. Impeccable results. That’s the Stark Difference. Discover that difference yourself by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Stark today.

135 South Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 220, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

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