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Breast Implant Surgery

Breast augmentation cosmetic surgery

Breast augmentation is a cosmetic surgery procedure to increase breast size and enhance breast shape, typically through the placement of silicone or saline breast implants. From a cosmetic surgeon’s perspective, the ultimate goal of breast augmentation is to enhance a patient’s natural proportions and create a more symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing breast profile. The exact procedure is tailored to meet a woman’s individual needs.

There is no “typical” breast augmentation patient, and women choose to have the procedure for many different reasons—having larger breasts is just one of them. Breast augmentation is one of the most effective procedures to correct noticeable breast asymmetry, and breast implants can be used to help correct tuberous breast deformities. Other common goals of breast augmentation:

  • Restoring breast fullness lost after pregnancy & breastfeeding
  • Feeling more confident in a swimsuit
  • Adding balance to better complement curvy hips
  • Enhancing self-image

Breast Implant Choices

There’s never been a better time to have breast augmentation, as today you have more choices than ever to help you customize your new look. Whether you’d like more dramatic curves or a modest boost in cleavage, there’s an option for you. Here are some choices you can expect to go over during your consultation process:

  • Filling type: Saline, Silicone Gel, or Highly Cohesive Silicone “Gummy Bear” Implants. Neither is “best,” but there are some differences in cost, feel, and incision requirements that you need to consider. Your cosmetic surgeon will help you find the right implant type for you.
  • Shape: Saline & Silicone Gel implants are typically round, while gummy bear implants come in shaped and round options. Round implants will typically achieve a
    Breast Implant

    Breast Implant

    fuller upper pole (the top portion of your breast), while shaped implants lend a gently sloping look to your breast profile. Both can look very natural with a skilled cosmetic surgeon’s help.

  • Profile: Your cosmetic surgeon will help you choose this based on your existing proportions and your goals. Generally, patients with a more petite frame will require a higher profile implant to achieve the desired size increase while ensuring the implants are not too wide at the base.
  • Size: Breast implants range in size from about 150cc to 800cc or larger. Many patients require a different sized breast implant for each breast; this helps to achieve the best possible symmetry. The size you choose depends on your existing breast size, your personal goals, and your cosmetic surgeon’s recommendations.

Of course, all of these options make it even more important to choose a cosmetic surgeon who is well-qualified and has experience using a variety of breast implants.

What types of breast implants are available?

Saline breast implants

Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water. Should the implant shell leak, a saline implant will collapse and the saline will be absorbed and naturally expelled by the body.

Saline breast implants provide a uniform shape, firmness and feel, and are FDA-approved for augmentation in women age 18 or older.

Structured saline breast implants

Structured implants are filled with sterile salt water, and contain an inner structure which aims to make the implant feel more natural.

Silicone breast implants

Silicone breast implants are filled with silicone gel. The gel feels a bit more like natural breast tissue. If the implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell, or may escape into the breast implant pocket. A leaking implant filled with silicone gel will not collapse.

If you choose silicone implants, you may need to visit your plastic surgeon regularly to make sure the implants are functioning properly. An ultrasound or MRI screening can assess the condition of breast implants.

Silicone breast implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women age 22 or older.

Gummy bear breast implants

Form-stable implants are sometimes referred to as gummy bear breast implants because they maintain their shape even when the implant shell is broken.

The consistency of the silicone gel inside the implant is thicker than traditional silicone gel implants. These implants are also firmer than traditional implants. 

Shaped gummy bear breast implants have more projection at the bottom and are tapered towards the top. If a shaped implant rotates, it may lead to an unusual appearance of the breast that requires a separate procedure to correct.

Placement of gummy bear implants requires a slightly longer incision in the skin.

Round breast implants

Round breast implants have a tendency to make breasts appear fuller than form-stable implants. Higher profile options can achieve even more projection.

Because round implants are the same shape all over, there is less concern about them rotating out of place.

Smooth breast implants

Smooth breast implants are the softest feeling. They can move with the breast implant pocket, which may give more natural movement.

Smooth implants may have some palpable or visible rippling under the skin.

Textured breast implants

Textured breast implants develop scar tissue to stick to the implant, making them less likely to move around inside of the breast and become repositioned.

Texturing offers some advantage in diminishing the risk of a tight scar capsule.

Implant manufacturers occasionally introduce new styles and types of breast implants, so there may be additional options available.

Whether you choose saline or silicone implants, it is important for you to monitor your breast implants and follow-up with your plastic surgeon for appropriate checkups.

Once you have your breast implants, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:

  • It’s safe to have mammograms with breast implants, so be sure to maintain regular screening as prescribed by your doctor.
  • For silicone implants, it is recommended that patients undergo periodic monitoring (via mammogram, ultrasound or MRI) to screen for ruptures, which are rare.
  • Future pregnancies or weight fluctuations may affect your results, and a secondary surgery may be needed to correct any changes you are unhappy with over time.
  • Nothing can stop the normal aging process; over time, breast tissue will change. You can help prevent unnecessary sagging by wearing a bra with adequate support for your activity level.

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