In the more than twenty years that I have been a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in procedures of the breasts and body, I have performed literally thousands of breast augmentation procedures. As a board member on Allergan’s Breast Aesthetics Executive Council, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most advanced breast implant technology available. Today, women have more options than ever before when they opt to undergo breast augmentation surgery with breast implants. In addition to being able to customize the size of the implant, women also have a variety of shapes, textures, and even materials to choose from. Here is a brief overview of exactly what sort of breast implants a woman can choose from.
Silicone or Saline
Breast implants can be filled with either sterile saline, a fluid silicone gel, or, in the case of form-stable “Gummy Bear” Implants, an advanced, cohesive silicone gel that maintains its shape even if the outer shell of the implant is damaged. Some women prefer silicone implants, believing them to be more natural in appearance and texture and less likely to fold or ripple along the lower edge or side of the breast. Other women prefer saline implants that can be inserted into the breast pocket while empty and filled once inside, requiring smaller incisions and leaving smaller scars. Despite some concerns in the early 1990’s, decades of clinical trials have found that silicone breast implants are completely safe, so the determination of which type of implant will produce the best breast augmentation results for an individual patient is largely a matter of personal aesthetic taste.
Round or Tear-Drop
The shape of a breast implant can play a significant role in the appearance of the breast after a breast augmentation. Round (or spherical) implants provide exceptional lift and projection and add a rounded fullness to the upper portion of the breast that many women find desirable. However, many women are also interested in the more subtle, natural look of shaped implants, which are designed to look like a tear-drop in order to more accurately mimic the natural contours of the female breast. I have had the opportunity to work extensively with both tear-drop shaped implants and implants filled with cohesive silicone gel, and have consistently achieved exceptional results with both. During an initial plastic surgery consultation, I work closely with each patient, allowing them to “try on” different breast implant sizes and shapes so that they can get a better idea of which will best compliment their personal body frame.
Textured or Smooth
The outer surface of the breast implant is usually smooth, as this is generally considered to be the softest feeling and allows the implant to move and shift, providing more natural-looking breast augmentation results. However, tear-drop shaped implants, like Allergan’s Natrelle® style 410 breast implants, need to maintain their orientation and position within the breast cavity and so their surface is usually textured. This allows healing tissue to adhere to the implant, making them less likely to become repositioned inside the breast. Some have even proposed that texturing can also potentially reduce the risk of capsular contracture, a rare complication that may occur after breast augmentation surgery.
In order to help my patients get a better idea of just what they can expect from a breast augmentation procedure, I allow all of my patients to experiment with different implant sizes and types using the Vectra® M3 imaging system by Canfield Imaging Systems. This sophisticated device generates a three-dimensional computer simulation of the patient’s body, which can then be used to illustrate what different implant types and sizes will look like from every possible angle. If you would like to learn more about breast augmentation, or about any of the other plastic surgery procedures that I preform, please contact me, Dr. James Namnoum, to schedule a consultation today. You can also get the latest plastic surgery news and updates by following me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.