“Boob jobs”, the bread and butter of a plastic surgeon; this is easily one of the most common procedures and it is definitely one of the first things people think of when you say “plastic surgery”. Since this is such a popular procedure, countless variations exist from what type of implant material you choose to the implant location to the incision types. For this reason, I will be posting a few articles on the topic so I am able to go in-depth enough on these topics to give you all of the information you really need. Keep in mind, I am not a plastic surgeon, just an enthusiast; I know my stuff, but since I don’t know you and each patient is different, make sure you discuss your options with your doctor.
Ok, to start with you are able to get saline or silicone breast implants.
Although silicone implants have a bad reputation, that applies to PAST implants. The FDA took older models off the market but newer, better versions are currently available and are completely safe for use. Back in the day, silicone implants were what everybody used. Then they had lots of problems with capsular contracture and leakage of the implants. Once the silicone got in to your body, it caused a heck of a problem. Doctors would have to go in and remove a big, sticky mess. For this reason, older models are no longer available.
This is what a ruptured implant looks like. The tissue material on the side (the red stuff) is a capsule that had formed in the patient, likely in response to the leakage.
However, in the late ‘90’s though, the FDA looked in to silicone implants and decided that there was no significant difference in side-effects for patients with silicone implants. Prior to this, silicone implants were only permitted for patients having reconstructive breast surgeries done (like after a mastectomy).
Now that you have a bit of background and understand that both types of implant are safe, let me explain the benefits of each type to you.
These are often called “gummy bear” implants. They are made up of a silicone gel inside of a silicone shell. These newest models are much better than their predecessors. They have lower rates of capsular contracture (a side effect that I will go in to in a later post) and do not rupture as much as the older versions did.
These implants are available in various shapes, sizes, and profiles. However, their sizes are NOT adjustable. The implant comes to the surgeon pre-filled in certain increments and that is it. If you had been hoping to get a 643cc implant, you are going to have to settle for a 650cc or a 600cc.
Silicone implants are generally considered to be more “realistic” feeling than saline and have a similar texture to that of your natural breast tissue. A drawback for these is that they are more likely to rupture than saline implants. Also, if they do rupture, it is harder to detect since they retain their shape; if a ruptured implant goes unnoticed, the silicone could leak to surrounding areas and cause health problems.
These implants are made of a silicone shell that is filled with a saline solution. They can be inserted into your body and then filled with saline; the doctor then closes the valve and stitches up incision. This means that these implants are available in virtually any size you want. A 600cc shell can be filled with 575cc or it can be over-filled with 625cc, for example. These will result in different appearances of the implant.
The drawback for these implants is that they have a higher rate of cosmetic side effects than silicone implants. There may be rippling or capsular contracture. One major benefit though, is if these rupture you will notice immediately. Saline solution is matched to your body’s saline levels and is similar to what you will find in an IV bag; because of this, if the implant leaks you will not have any problems from the saline entering your body. Your tissues will absorb the liquid and you only need to worry about getting in to have it fixed- unlike silicone ruptures which can lead to severe health problems.
Another benefit is that since these implants can be filled after they are placed in your body, the incision can be MUCH smaller than with silicone, and a smaller incision means a smaller and less noticeable scar. The “scar-less” techniques that you have heard about (and that I’ll talk about later) utilize saline implants.
Overall, you need to weigh what is important to you. You body type, desired results, and even your lifestyle can all affect which type of implant you want. Incision type is another important factor in picking the implant type, and I’ll discuss those later. Implant material is just one of a variety of choices that you can make to reach your ideal appearance and feel great about yourself.