Many patients become overwhelmed with the types of breast implants on the market today. Each type offers its own set of benefits and downsides. Breast implants are used for both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery after breast cancer.
There are many factors that contribute to the selection of breast implants, which may include:
- the patient’s specific anatomy
- desired aesthetic appearance or feel
- cosmetic vs. reconstructive surgery
- the amount of soft tissue coverage over the implant
- and/or personal and professional preference
Breast implants also come in varying shapes, textures, and profiles, which indicate the implants projection off your chest wall. In this post, we will focus on the basics of each implant type as the breast implant selection process is highly individualized and based on multiple factors.
Saline implants have a silicone shell, which are filled with sterile saline (salt water) at the time of surgery. These implants tend to be slightly more firm and have a rounder overall appearance. As with all implants, “rippling” or the implant folds may be visible on the skin surface depending on the amount of soft tissue coverage. In cosmetic cases, this is not usually a concern because a patient has breast tissue and often the implant in under the pectoralis major muscle to mask the implant ripples. Likewise, if a patient has had their breast tissue removed (mastectomy) the implant ripples may be visible because they have less tissue covering the implant. In the event that a saline implant ruptures, the patient will be aware as the implant will flatten, and your body will absorb the saline. Typically the incision will be smaller as the implant is inserted without the saline and then filled after implant placement. Also, the exact saline fill amount is customized based on the surgeon’s discretion to optimize symmetry.
Silicone implants come in 2 basic types, silicone gel and highly cohesive silicone gel in a silicone shell. Today’s generation of silicone implants are filled with a cohesive silicone gel that maintains its form if ruptured and does not leak throughout the body. The highly cohesive silicone gel implant, also known as “gummy bear” or “anatomic” implants, have a firmer silicone and thereby have the least amount of ripples associated with this type of implant. Both of these silicone gel implants are excellent choices for women who want a softer or more “natural” look.
Implant selection can be difficult. Our surgeons at Florida Plastic Surgery Group will help you make an informed decision based on your specific desires and anatomy. Please call us at 904.262.3372 today to schedule your consultation.