Schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas

Breast Augmentation Implants 101

breast augmentation implants

When you are thinking of having breast augmentation, implants are often the first thing you think about. After all, it’s the size, shape, and material of the implants that determines how you look after the surgery.

When it comes to breast augmentation implants, there’s no one size fits all option. Implants made of one type of material might be the right option for one patient, while implants made of another material might better suit another. Learning more about implants can help you be an informed patient when you meet with a plastic surgeon to discuss breast augmentation.

Types of Breast Augmentation Implants

First things first, let’s talk about the material implants are typically made out of. For a while, women only had one choice when it came to material. Nowadays, you have the option of choosing saline (salt water solution) or silicone implants.

There are some pretty big differences when it comes to saline or silicone in implants, even though the two materials are essentially doing the same thing: increasing the size of the breasts. For one thing, the feel of the implants is completely different. Silicone implants tend to feel more natural and softer than saline, which might be firmer. It’s worth noting that some silicone implants, known as gummy bear implants, are thicker, firmer and more cohesive than other types of silicone.

Another thing that differentiates silicone from saline implants is how they are placed and filled during the surgery. Silicone implants are pre-filled, while saline implants can be filled after positioning them in the breasts. That gives you a little more leeway in terms of determining the size of the implant.

Finally, one of the major differences between saline and silicone implants is what happens to the implants if they should leak or rupture. Thicker and more cohesive silicone implants won’t leak or change much if their outer shell breaks. The gel is so thick it’s going to stay in place. Saline implants will deflate if they should leak or rupture, though. The results of a leak in a saline implant are externally visible, while you will most likely need imaging to determine if a silicone implant has ruptured or not.

Size of Implants

Picking the right implant size is pretty important. If you go with a size that’s ultimately too small, you’re less likely to be satisfied with your results. Implants that are too large can cause discomfort and can also leave you dissatisfied.

Implant size is about more than just your final results, though. It also has something to do with the size of your frame. If you end up choosing an implant that’s too large, there might not actually be enough room for it in the breast, causing it to spill over to the sides, creating a less than natural look. Implants that are a good fit width-wise can be too tall and can project out too much, creating a pointy, unnatural breast shape.

To make sure you’re choosing the right size implant, it’s usually a good idea to take it for a test run with sizers, first. Try the sizers on in your bra, under a few of your favorite shirts. Doing so will give you an idea of the weight of the implant, as well as an idea of how they will look.

Shapes of Implants

As implants have become more technologically advanced, the options available for shapes of implant have greatly increased. For example, while traditional silicone and saline implants tend to be round, gummy bear implants often have a tear-drop, or anatomical shape. There are benefits and drawbacks to choosing a tear-drop shaped implant.

One of the benefits is that these implants often look more natural since they create a slightly sloped shape, rather than a fully round breast. Anatomical breast implants also preserve the natural contour of the breast better than round implants, and they are less likely to overstretch the natural tissue.

One of the drawbacks of an anatomical breast implant is that the breast can look strange or unnatural if the implant shifts or turns in any way after it’s positioned. Since round implants are the same size and shape on all sides, if they turn after placement, there’s no change in the appearance of the breast.

Replacing or Removing Your Implants

Many women won’t have the same pair of implants for the rest of their lives. Implants aren’t meant to last a lifetime, and they may start to show signs of wear after a decade or so. In some cases, changes in taste or naturally occurring changes to the breasts can cause a woman to rethink her implants.

For example, a woman might decide that she wants smaller or larger breasts after having implants for a few years. In that case, a breast implant exchange procedure would allow a woman to swap out her current implants for a differently sized pair.

Implant exchange can also be performed if there’s an issue with the implants. In some cases, scar tissue develops around the implant and squeezes it, causing the implant to become misshapen or deformed. When capsular contracture occurs, the breasts can also become painful to the touch. Removing the implant and replacing it, if desired, is often the best option.

Working with a plastic surgeon who specializes in breast augmentation and breast surgeries is essential for getting the results you want. Obtaining those results starts with picking the right implants, in terms of shape, size, and materials. Dr. Paul Vitenas is one of the top plastic surgeons in the Houston area and a leading breast augmentation surgeon in the US. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today to discuss your implant options and pick the pair that’s right for you. To make an appointment, call 281-484-0088.