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4 Things to Know About Breast Implants


Let’s face it: there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a breast implant. And even more styles of breast implants have entered the market over the past several years, which can certainly make it a confusing decision. This blog will overview these options and provide our practice’s rationale on how implants are selected for each particular patient.

There are really only three types of implants on the market today in two shapes and textures. These include saline implants, silicone (cohesive gel) implants and “gummy bear” silicone (highly cohesive gel) implants. Each type has several different styles that may be useful for specific reasons. Making the best choice may depend on the patient’s anatomy, personal preferences and the desired outcome.

1) Saline implants
Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water. They are the least expensive breast implant and placement requires a slightly smaller incision. Should the implant shell leak, a saline implant will deflate and the saline will be harmlessly absorbed and naturally eliminated by the body. They are a good choice if you would like a firm, projecting breast contour. The main disadvantage of saline implants is that they tend to be firmer than normal breast tissue. There is also a risk that wrinkles and ripples in the implant shell may show through in people who have very thin soft tissue coverage over the implant.

2) Silicone (cohesive gel) breast implants
Following initial concerns regarding the safety of silicone gel breast implants in 1992, the safety of these implants was overwhelmingly affirmed in the medical literature. New generation silicone implants were approved by the FDA in 2006. Silicone gel breast implants are very soft and can be indistinguishable from natural breast tissue. Achieving a natural result is their main advantage. If the implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell or may escape into the surrounding breast implant pocket. Silicone gel implants do not deflate. The main disadvantage is that silicone gel implants are more expensive. Also, if there is a question regarding the integrity of the implant, further testing may be required. An ultrasound or MRI can assess the condition of the implant.

3) “Gummy bear” (highly cohesive) silicone gel implants
Form-stable implants are sometimes referred to as “gummy bear” breast implants because they maintain their shape in any position. This is designed to maintain more projection of the lower pole of the breast and a smooth slope of the upper portion of the breast. The silicone gel is somewhat thicker than that used in traditional silicone gel implants. They are also slightly firmer to the touch. Most gummy bear implants are teardrop shaped rather than round. This can be an advantage in patients that have a mild amount of loose skin of the breast. The main disadvantages are that they are the most expensive implant, a larger incision is required for placement and the shape of the breast may be affected if the implant rotates to any degree.

4) Round, smooth or textured implants
Round breast implant have a tendency to make breasts appear fuller, especially in the lower pole. 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 have the softest feel. These implants can move within the breast implant pocket, which may give a more natural movement.

Textured breast implants may reduce the tightness of the scar in the capsule that forms around an implant. This may offer some advantage in reducing the risk of capsular contracture. These implants are less likely to move around inside the breast capsule.

Hopefully, this has answered some of the major questions regarding breast implants.

To see before and after photos of some of our actual patients, please visit the Galleries on our website at www.georgiacosmetic.org. Want to feel more confident? View our current enhancement specials now.

The West Georgia Center for Plastic Surgery, a Tanner Medical Group practice, is located in Carrollton, Ga. For more information about breast implants or to schedule a consultation, call 770.834.6302 or visit www.GeorgiaCosmetic.org. This practice also specializes in a wide range of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery procedures, as well as skin care health and aesthetic laser procedures,including laser skin resurfacing.

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