What Are the Different Types of Breast Implants?

For people considering breast augmentation or breast reconstruction surgery, the landscape of different terms and procedures can be a bit daunting. However, as you learn more, you’ll find that much of the lingo you need to know as a patient actually describes fairly straightforward ideas. We encourage everyone to do some research before scheduling a consultation, and a great way to start your cosmetic-surgery journey is by familiarizing yourself with some of the breast-related terminology that plastic surgeons use.

breast implant options at atlanta plastic surgery pc (small)Saline breast implants contain essentially the same sterile salt-water solution that people use to clean their contact lenses. They have the consistency of water and a more uniform shape than silicone implants. Saline implants are completely safe and approved for use in women 18 and older, but they have been known to rupture. Never fear—this type of implant rupture is extremely rare, and if it does occur, your body will safely absorb the saline. The shape, size, and/or position of the affected breast(s) will be disturbed, and you may experience some discomfort, but these issues can be remedied with an additional surgery. A subcategory of these implants is the structured saline implant, which contains an inner-structure intended to make the implants look and feel more natural.

Silicone breast implants are generally thought to better mimic the consistency of human fat than saline implants. Therefore, some people choose silicone over saline to achieve a more natural look and feel. There was concern over the safety of silicone implants in the past, as some people thought they may have been connected to certain disorders. However, after extensive research, no convincing evidence of this connection was found, and these implants have been FDA-approved for women over age 22 since 2006. If a standard silicone implant ruptures, the silicone gel may leak out into your body without you realizing (sometimes called a “silent rupture”). While this may sound somewhat scary, such an event would only put you at extremely low risk, if any, for potential health issues. You may, however, experience some pain and discomfort. Furthermore, it may alter the positioning of the implants.

A gummy bear implant is a type of silicone implant made from cohesive gel. Like a gummy bear, this implant is essentially one solid piece of squishy material that slowly springs back to its original shape. It can be punctured or even cut in half and continue to retain its form, eliminating virtually any risk of internal leaking.

The shape of your implants is another important element to consider. Round implants are quite common and give the breasts considerable lift and outward projection. Shaped implants, on the other hand, can give the breasts a more understated teardrop appearance.

Whether you use smooth or textured implants mainly depends on the shape you choose. A smooth implant design is only appropriate for round implants, as round implants do not need to maintain their position and orientation in the same way shaped implants do. Smooth implants sit freely in the breast pocket, giving the breasts a subtle amount of movement that mimics the behavior of natural breasts. A textured implant design is best for shaped implants. The textured surface allows surrounding tissue to bond with the implants as you heal, holding them in position.

As with most decisions in plastic surgery, the “best” material, shape, design, or combination thereof depends on the patient. To find the right option for you, you’ll need to schedule a consultation at Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. When you choose a doctor at one of our five Atlanta-area locations, he or she will evaluate your unique attributes and gauge your aesthetic preferences to help you make the most informed, beneficial decision possible. Additionally, we offer several financing options and are happy to work with you on the financial planning of your procedure. Check back each week for new blogs, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic-surgery news and updates.