Breast augmentation is a popular cosmetic procedure that can be used to change the shape, size, and appearance of the breasts. Breast augmentation can be used to increase the size of small breasts, restore breast size and shape after pregnancy, restore symmetry to asymmetrical breasts or to reconstruct the breasts after surgery. Plastic surgeons offer a variety of options for breast augmentation surgery, each of which has benefits and drawbacks.
1. Saline Implants
Both saline and silicone implants are made from a silicone outer shell, but the filling differs. Saline implants are inserted empty and then filled with sterile salt water. Different amounts of saline can be used to achieve the desired shape and firmness. A structured variety is available that some patients believe provides a more natural feel to the implant. If a leak occurs, the implant will collapse and the salt water is absorbed and expelled by the body. Surgery is usually required to remove the silicone shell after a rupture and some patients choose to have a new implant placed at the same time.
2. Silicone Implants
Silicone implants are pre-filled with silicone gel. The gel is intended to mimic the look and feel of fat tissue. Many people report that silicone implants feel more like natural breast tissue than saltwater implants. Silicone implants do not collapse when leaks develop and the silicone frequently remains trapped in the fibrous breast tissue. The silicone has not been found to pose significant health risks, but can change the size and shape of the breast, or cause breast thickening and pain, requiring corrective surgery. This type of implant requires regular assessment by a plastic surgeon to ensure that the implants are still functioning correctly.
3. Gummy Bear Implants
These tear-drop shaped implants, also known as form-stable implants, can hold their shape, even when the implant shell is broken. They are filled with a silicone gel that is thicker than the gel in traditional silicone implants. These implants can be shaped to achieve the desired appearance of the breasts, but there is a risk that the implants can rotate, leading to an undesirable appearance. They also require a larger incision in the skin that can increase the risk of visible scar tissue. This option is ideal for people who want a fuller appearance to the breast, without the more extreme shapes of some other options.
Because of their strength, these implants are less likely to rupture and leak than traditional silicone implants. However, it can be more difficult to detect leaks when they do occur, so regular screenings by a physician are recommended. Additionally, these implants are usually more expensive than other types.
4. Fat Transfer
In this procedure, the surgeon removes fat from the patient’s body with liposuction and then injects the fat tissue into the patient’s breasts. With fat transfer breast augmentation, a person can both remove unwanted fat from their body and enhance the appearance of their breasts, without a need for implants. Breast size can be increased by up to one cup size. Additionally, the shape of the breasts can be changed to be rounder and firmer, while still retaining a natural look and feel. Your surgeon can also specifically target the upper area of your breast to improve the appearance of your cleavage. This procedure can be ideal for patients who have unwanted fat in other areas of their body and do not wish to have implants.
Breast augmentation procedures can have a variety of cosmetic benefits for patients, including changing the size, shape, or feel of the breasts. The best option for individual patients depends upon their health, physical characteristics, budget, and the desired result.