Many women are interested in breast implants to make their breasts fuller and more prominent. This procedure, which can be paired with a breast lift, may be done for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons. Some women may prefer a breast reduction and lift.
When you talk to your plastic surgeon about breast augmentation, you can choose from several types of implants. Below is more information about those options, as well as more about the breast augmentation procedure.
There are two most common breast implant types on the market in the US: silicone and saline. Both are approved by FDA and have their advantages and disadvantages. The one you select depends on your preferences.
Several silicone breast implants are available, but the newest are adhesive silicone gel breast implants, also called ‘gummy bear’ implants.
These are filled with silicone gel that feels like natural breasts, and there are other benefits. For example, gummy bear implants keep their shape better over the years than regular silicone and saline implants.
Eventually, breast implants are affected by gravity and begin to sag. But gummy bear implants feature a different shape that isn’t affected by gravity as much. They also usually have a teardrop shape that many patients say looks more like natural breasts.
This distinctive shape means gummy bear silicone implants are less likely to leak or rip; the filling is more solid and secure than regular silicone gel. The gummy bear implant also has a tight molecular bind that means it’s unlikely the implant shell will fold or collapse.
The solid gel also means if the implant ever ruptures, you don’t need to worry about leakage; the gel is almost solid so that it will stay inside the shell.
However, gummy bear implants are relatively new to the market, so we don’t have long-term data on their performance. And, while implant manufacturers offer them in several cohesion options, these implants are firmer, so you’ll need more extensive incisions.
Your incisions will be positioned at the bottom of your breasts, resulting in more visible scarring. But a skilled, board-certified surgeon knows how to make incisions to minimize scarring. The scars are usually not visible anyway unless you’re lying on your back.
Saline is the other major option, and also has advantages and disadvantages. Your surgeon inserts the implant empty and fills them with saline solution. So, you have more control over the implant size.
Using saltwater solution is one reason many women like saline implants. If the implant ruptures, the solution will be absorbed by your body without harm. Also, saline implants are smaller than silicone versions, but they also need smaller incisions and can be inserted through other means, such as through the armpits.
The major drawback of saline implants is they don’t feel or look as natural as silicone. Usually, your breasts will be much rounder and firmer than with silicone implants.
After you select saline or silicone, the next consideration is the shape you want for your new implants. Most women choose round or teardrop-shaped implants.
Round implants are most common and they offer excellent fullness and lift; they’re round and symmetrical. Implant rotation is rarely a problem with round implants, but some argue they look artificial. This is why teardrop implants are getting more popular.
A teardrop implant looks like a tear and has a sloped contour that makes the breasts look larger on the bottom and smaller on top. Many patients prefer the teardrop look because they offer more volume and projection and appear more natural.
However, teardrop implants cost more and require a textured shell to prevent them from distorting and rotating.
Whether you opt for silicone or saline, all breast implants have risks, which include:
Correcting these issues may require revision breast augmentation surgery to remove or replace your implants.
Also, some implants have a low risk of developing a rare form of large cell lymphoma. Breast implants that have a textured silicone shell may have the highest chance. This type of disease isn’t breast cancer, but treatment may require chemotherapy and radiation.
While the risk is low, it’s possible a saline or silicone breast implant can rupture.
If it’s a saline implant, it will quickly deflate and change your breast shape and size. Your body will absorb the saltwater solution, but you’ll need revision surgery.
If a silicone implant ruptures, you probably won’t notice right away. The silicone usually stays in the fibrous capsule around the implant, which is called a silent rupture.
Leaking silicone shouldn’t pose health risks, but it can lead to breast pain or changes in the size and shape of the breast. If this happens, your surgeon will probably recommend removal, but you can also have a new implant.
Interested in a Philadelphia breast implant procedure? Double board-certified Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Stark will review your options in your free consultation, as well as go over your surgical goals. He’ll decide if you’re a good candidate for a breast reduction or related procedure.
Breast Augmentation Implant Overview. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/breast-augmentation/implants
Breast Implants Overview. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.webmd.com/beauty/cosmetic-procedures-breast-augmentation#1
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.
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