Now that you have chosen to have breast augmentation surgery, you need to decide which type of breast implants you want and what size is appropriate for you. Premier Milwaukee cosmetic surgeon Paul W. Loewenstein, MD, shares the following tips for choosing breast implants.
Tips for Choosing a Type of Breast Implants
There are three main types of breast implants: saline, traditional silicone and highly cohesive, form-stable silicone implants. Each type of implant offers its own benefits and drawbacks.
Saline Breast Implants
The main benefits of saline breast implants are:
- They are filled with a sterile saltwater solution (i.e., saline), which your body can naturally absorb in case of implant rupture.
- Because your body can safely absorb the filling solution, it’s easy to tell when your implant has ruptured, as the affected breast will appear flat.
- Dr. Loewenstein can use slightly smaller incisions to insert saline implants than he can with silicone implants, because he fills saline implants after they have been inserted. (Silicone implants arrive prefilled from the manufacturer.)
- They are slightly less expensive than silicone implants.
The principal drawbacks of saline breast implants are:
- They look and feel less like natural breasts than their silicone counterparts.
- They may be more likely to fold or ripple within the implant pocket.
- They may be visible underneath the surface of the skin, especially in women with thin skin or little body fat to cover the implant properly.
Traditional Silicone Implants
The main advantages of traditional silicone breast implants are:
- They look and feel more like natural breast tissue than saline implants do.
- They are less likely to ripple within the implant pocket.
- They are less likely to be visible beneath the skin’s surface (especially when placed under the chest muscle during surgery).
The main disadvantages of traditional silicone implants are:
- If the implant ruptures, the body cannot absorb the silicone-gel filling material. Because the filling material stays intact within the implant pocket, it may be difficult to detect if the implant has ruptured. For this reason, the FDA advises that women with silicone implants undergo a breast imaging exam (e.g., an MRI or mammogram) every three years, starting two years after the initial breast enhancement surgery.
- Dr. Loewenstein must use a slightly larger incision to insert silicone implants, as, again, they come prefilled from the manufacturer.
- They are slightly more expensive than saline implants.
Highly Cohesive, Form-Stable Silicone Implants
Often referred to as “gummy bear” implants due to the gummy-like consistency of the implant filling material, highly cohesive, form-stable silicone implants offer the following benefits:
- Thanks to their form-stable silicone filling material that is more viscous than the previous-generation silicone implants, the filling material will stay intact in the event of a rupture.
- The form-stable filling material also makes this type of implant less prone to folding or rippling within the implant pocket.
- Similar to traditional silicone implants, form-stable silicone implants resemble natural breast tissue more than saline implants do.
- They come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes (including an “anatomically correct” teardrop shape), often making them a good choice for breast reconstruction patients following mastectomy to treat cancer.
The potential drawbacks of this newest generation of implants are similar to the drawbacks of traditional silicone implants. In addition, there is the potential for the implant to rotate inside the pocket and present a shape that it was not intended to.
Tips for Choosing Your Breast Implants’ Size
When deciding which breast implant size is appropriate for you, keep the following information in mind:
- Choose a size that is appropriate for your body type and frame. If you are petite with thin skin or little body fat, you do not want the largest size available — for two reasons: They will look out of proportion to the rest of your body (e.g., you may look “top heavy”), and you may not have a sufficient amount of skin, breast tissue and fat tissue to cover and support large breast implants. As a result, the implants will likely be visible underneath the skin’s surface.
- Bring photos of women whose breasts you like to your consultation. Photos are a great way to make sure that you and Dr. Loewenstein share the same aesthetic vision for your surgical outcome. Just be sure to choose photos of women with a physique similar to yours! Many web sites are available that have galleries of photos of patients before and after breast augmentation. LoveYourLook.com is just one example.
- You can reference a bra-cup size, but that should not be your only reference point. When describing the size of breast implants you would like, referring to a bra-cup size is a good starting point. However, you should be aware that different manufacturers refer to cup sizes differently. For instance, what one manufacturer calls a B cup may be referred to as a C cup by another manufacturer.
Come in for a Consultation
The best way to choose breast implants that are appropriate for your aesthetic desires and individual physique is to visit Dr. Loewenstein for a consultation. He can review all of the information in this article with you, have you try on temporary breast prosthetics, evaluate your unique anatomy and recommend an appropriate treatment protocol.
To schedule a personal consultation with Milwaukee plastic surgeon Dr. Paul W. Loewenstein to find out more about your breast implant options, contact his practice by calling (800) 614-5097 today.