Women opt to get breast implants, sometimes known as breast augmentation or a “boob job”, for any number of reasons. Whether you are interested in this procedure because of past medical issues or surgery or would simply like to enhance your confidence level or physical appearance, you probably have many questions. One important issue is to understand the various types of breast implants that are available to ensure that you choose the one that is best for you.
SALINE BREAST IMPLANTS
In saline breast implants, an implant shell is filled with sterile saltwater that is readily absorbed into the body should the shell leak. These implants furnish a uniform, firm shape and feel and are FDA approved for women 18 or older. You can also ask your breast implant surgeon about getting a structured saline implant that many women prefer because of its more natural feel.
SILICONE BREAST IMPLANTS
Instead of being filled with sterile saltwater, these contain a silicone gel that feels more like your natural breast tissue. Should a leak occur, the gel might stay in the shell, or it could migrate into the implant pocket. The implant will not collapse if there is a leak; therefore, it is wise to visit your surgeon regularly to be sure the implant continues to function well. Silicone implants are FDA approved for women 22 and over.
GUMMY BEAR BREAST IMPLANTS
These teardrop-shaped, gel-based implants maintain their form better than either saline or silicone alternatives. Thanks to their silicone shell and silicone gel filling, gummy bear implants keep their form and feel softer and more natural to the touch. Even if the shell breaks, the form does not collapse. While this type of implant is stronger and less likely to rupture, leaks are more difficult to detect. Therefore, it is recommended that patients receive a surveillance MRI two years after the procedure and every three years thereafter.
Another aspect of augmentation that you should discuss with your surgeon is the shape you want. Options include the following:
• Round implants for a fuller and more uniform shape;
• Smooth implants that move with the implant pocket and provide a soft feel. They also may ripple visibly under the skin;
• Textured implants that are designed to develop rough scar tissue that adheres to the implant and results in more stability and less of a chance that they will move out of position.
Whatever type of breast implants you choose, it is important to cultivate and maintain an ongoing, positive relationship with your plastic surgeon. Monitoring and maintaining the health of your implants is a life-long commitment. However, it is a small price to pay for the results that breast implants can offer.