Breast Augmentation: What Are My Options?
For those considering a breast augmentation, here is an overview of the primary options available for you to consider:
Breast augmentation remains one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, with almost 300,000 surgeries performed annually in the United States. Patients seeking breast augmentation ask similar questions during the early stages of the research and consultation. One of the most frequently asked questions is “What implants are best for me?”
There are many options when it comes to choosing your breast implants. A consultation with an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon will provide you with an understanding of implant materials, sizes and shapes. There have been many improvements over the last 5-10 years, and women have great options not available before.
First, implants are primarily filled with silicone gel, saline or structured saline. Currently, my patients seem to select each type equally- about 1/3 per type of implant. In addition, fat grafting is another option to add fullness to the breast without the use of an implant.
- Silicone implants are filled with a cohesive silicone gel, which is similar to gelatin. These implants are the softest of the three types and are quite popular because of it.
- Saline implants have the same outer shell as silicone implants but are filled with salt water (saline) instead.
- Structured saline implants (Ideal Implants) are the most recent innovation in implant technology. Ideal Implants have multiple partitions within the implant itself, and when filled with saline, have a softer and more natural feel than a standard saline implant.
- Multiple profiles or shapes of implants are available to improve our ability to individualize or customize breast augmentation to different body types and expectations. Implants are either round or anatomically shaped (also called tear-drop shaped). Round implants are by far the most commonly used.
Implant surfaces, or shells, may be smooth or textured.
- Textured implants were developed to minimize the unfavorable side effect of capsular contracture, but have been much less frequently used over the past 10 years than they had been in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
- Smooth implants are by far the most commonly chosen implants, whether saline, structured saline or silicone gel filled.
Another option for adding volume is fat grafting. Fat grafting (transferring fat from one location in the body to another) is commonplace in plastic surgery and has been practiced for over 35 years. For most patients, fat grafting is not a primary option for breast augmentation because the resulting increase in breast size is modest, and often times multiple sessions of fat grafting are required to achieve the desired outcome. Fat grafting may prove an excellent supplement to enhance an augmentation carried out with implants.
Women and Plastic Surgeons have many choices when it comes to breast implants. The skill, experience, and willingness of your Plastic Surgeon to educate you about your choices is important. Our role is to provide patients with accurate and credible information and to help you choose the implant style, shape, and size that will be the most pleasing for you.
If you are considering a breast augmentation or any type of cosmetic breast surgery, it’s best to receive careful consultation of all options to help determine the appropriate course of treatment. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation!