When breast implants first became available, women had two choices. They could either request saline implants or silicone ones. Today, thanks to advances in medicine, women may now choose from four types.
Saline and silicone implants are still available, but a woman might also choose gummy bear or fat graft implants. Each option comes with benefits and drawbacks that a woman should know before making a choice. Work with a qualified cosmetic surgeon when making this decision for the best results, and see resource guide for more information.
Saline implants come filled with sterile salt water, and this salt water is contained in a silicone shell. Forty-four percent of women today choose this option. They like knowing that any leaks in the shell lead to the saline solution leaking into the body, where it will be absorbed and expelled naturally. When this happens, the saline implant collapses.
People know saline implants for their roundness. The shape is uniform and the implants look and feel firm. However, some people feel these implants do not look natural. An alternative option is a structured implant, one that comes with an inner structure designed to give the implant a more natural feel.
One reason many women choose this option is they like knowing they can go in for revision surgeries if needed. These implants are extremely safe and ideal for women who are concerned about medical complications more than the final appearance of the implants. The FDA has approved saline implants for women who are 18 or older, so discuss this option with the cosmetic surgeon.
Silicone shells are also used in silicone implants. These implants differ from saline versions in that they contain a silicone gel rather than a saline solution. Women like these implants because they look completely natural and the feel is very similar to that of natural breast tissue. These implants are lightweight, making them a good choice for women who live active lifestyles.
However, silicone implants come with a higher price tag. In addition, the implant may leak, and this lead can go undetected for a period of several years. The gel could remain contained within the shell or it may move into the breast implant pocket. Unlike saline implants, a leaking silicone implant does not collapse.
Women whose silicone implants leak may find they have breast pain or feel some numbness. The breasts may look uneven as a result of the leak. Women with silicone implants need to be evaluated by a cosmetic surgeon regularly to detect problems early. The FDA only allows silicone implants for women 22 years of age or older.
Gummy Bear Implants
Gummy bear implants bring together the best of saline and silicone implants. They look and feel like natural breast tissue while providing the volume of saline implants. The implant is tapered at the top before projecting at the bottom. One concern with this is any movement of the implant leads to an unnatural breast shape. The woman will need a separate procedure to fix this.
Surgeons often refer to gummy bear implants as form-stable implants because the implant maintains its shape even when damaged. The silicone gel in the implant has a thicker consistency to provide this feature. These implants are the most expensive option today because they look and feel natural.
Nevertheless, there is a drawback to the firmness of these implants. A woman will not know when the implant ruptures and this can lead to medical complications over time. Periodic MRIs ensure the implants remain intact. In addition, the surgeon must make a longer incision to place the implants.
Women who worry about putting artificial implants into their bodies should look into fat-based breast augmentation. During this innovative procedure, the surgeon removes fat from other parts of the body with the help of liposuction and transfers this fat to the breasts. This technique eliminates the risk of an implant rupture, and the breasts look and feel completely natural. Getting rid of unwanted fat from other parts of the body is a bonus for women who choose this option.
There is a drawback to fat-based augmentation that women need to consider. This procedure is relatively new and has not undergone significant testing. Large-scale clinical trials need to be done to ensure this method is effective in the long run. Discuss the pros and cons of this option with a licensed cosmetic surgeon before deciding to go this route.
Women have choices today when it comes to breast implants, which is greatly appreciated. What works for one person won’t be appropriate for another. Now, any woman can undergo breast augmentation with confidence, knowing she has a procedure perfect for what she is hoping to achieve.