What Types of Breast Implants are Available?
There are many different types of implants for a breast augmentation. Your plastic surgeon will help determine which type is best suited to your needs and desired breast size.
Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone gel filled breast implants feel and look more like natural breast tissue than some of the other alternatives. There is a chance that silicone gel filled implants may leak. The gel may remain within the implant shell, or it may happen to escape into the breast implant pocket. Regardless, a leaking silicone implant will not collapse.
If you opt for silicone breast implants, you may need to meet with your plastic surgeon regularly to ensure the implants are functioning properly. Typically an ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be required to assess the condition of your breasts.
Silicone implants have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for breast augmentation in women age 22 or older.
Saline Breast Implants
Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water. These offer a uniform shape, firmness, and feel. Saline breast implants may leak, however this is harmless. In case of a leak, saline filled implants will collapse and the saline will be naturally absorbed and expelled by the body. Additionally, some plastic surgeons offer structured saline breast implants which contain an inner structure to help make the implant feel a bit more natural. Saline implants have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for breast augmentation in women age 18 or older.
Round Breast Implants
Round breast implants are the same shape all over and don’t typically run the risk of rotating out of place. These offer a fuller appearance than form-stable implants (see below). The higher-profile options may help achieve greater projection.
Form-Stable Breast Implants
Form-stable implants, also known as gummy-bear implants, are known for maintaining their shape even if the implant shell becomes damaged or broken. Form-stable implants have a thicker silicone gel inside of them compared to traditional saline or silicone gel implants. They also tend to be firmer in appearance and feel. However, gummy bear breast implant surgery requires a slightly longer incision in the skin.
Shaped gummy bear breast implants offer more projection at the bottom and are tapered toward the top. If the implant happens to rotate, it will require additional surgical procedures to correct.
How are Breast Implants Done
A breast augmentation with implants is a surgical procedure. The surgeon places an incision, typically along the horizontal skin fold where it is well hidden, through which the implants are inserted. The procedure typically takes 2-3 hours. If it is combined with breast lift, or if previous implants have to first be removed, it might take longer.
Are Breast Implants Dangerous to Your Health?
Like any surgical procedure, breast augmentation surgery has its own risks and complications, but it doesn’t mean they are a particularly risky procedure compared to other surgeries. It is important to discuss the risks with your surgeon as they may have long term effects on your health. Some of the risks and adverse outcomes include:
- Implant complications: implant rupture, breast pain, pain in the chest wall, changes in nipple and breast sensation, or pain and bleeding at the incision site
- Capsular contracture: occurs when scar tissue around the implant wraps around the implant, constricting it
- Rupture and deflation: a ruptured implant is not dangerous and can simply be replaced.
- Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL): the FDA believes there may be an association between structured breast implants and the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
- Connective tissue disease: extensive research in the 1980s after several case reports has found no evidence of any causative link between silicone breast implants and connective-tissue disease.
- Breast feeding: for some women, breast surgery may affect the ability to breastfeed, although in many cases, women are able to breastfeed safely and normally with breast implants.
Before you decide to have surgery, consider the following:
- Implants may not completely prevent sagging: your plastic surgeon may recommend an additional breast lift procedure in order to treat sagging breasts.
- Implants may not last long-term: the average lifespan of an implant is around 10 years. There is a risk of an implant rupturing, which may require additional surgeries to fix. Your skin will also continue to age – weight loss or gain over the years will affect the appearance of your breasts.
- Mammograms complications: Due to the breast augmentation, you may require additional mammogram views to your routine check-up.
- Insurance & Payment: typically, health insurance will not cover cosmetic breast augmentation. Unless it is a post-mastectomy procedure, you will typically be required to cover the cost. (NuBody Concepts does not process insurance payments.)
- Implant Removal: removing implants will often leave your chest muscles stretched, sagging, and wrinkled. In order to restore your breasts’ appearance if you decide to have your implants removed, you may need additional treatments like a breast lift.
- Future screenings required for Silicone implants: the FDA recommends having regular check-ups to ensure pre-filled silicone implants haven’t ruptured over the years. Typically your surgeon will recommend a breast MRI or an ultrasound for checkups. Talk to your plastic surgeon about the specific type of imaging needed for routine monitoring of your implant health.