Part 1 – Material, Shape and Texture
When I discuss the best implant choice for a patient I will always bear in mind that everyone is an individual with specific needs and desires, but they all want the best breast implant to achieve the best breast augmentation result.
What you need to consider is the best result will depend on where you are starting from, what you want to achieve, the implant type, material, shape, size and location, as well as the surgeon you choose.
Let’s start with the material and shape and in subsequent weeks we will consider other factors such as location and incision type.
Material – Silicone or Saline
Breast implant shells are filled with either saline or silicon. Saline naturally comprises most of the human body, so if the implant should leak (this occurs in less than 5% of implants) its fluid can be easily and safely absorbed. Silicone is one of the most intensively researched materials used in medicine and has been subjected to extensive safety testing. It has been scientifically proven that silicone gel implants carry no increased risk of:
- breast cancer
- autoimmune diseases
- risks when breast-feeding
Silicone implants tend to create a more natural feel and look to the breast and most implants being used in breast augmentation today are silicone.
Shape – Round vs. Anatomical or Tear Drop Shaped
Breast implants come in two general shapes: round and anatomical, and there are benefits and drawbacks of each shape of implant that you may wish to discuss in detail with your breast augmentation surgeon prior to determining what type of implant in right you.
Round breast implants are shaped as their name suggests. Round implants are able to shift and move while in position without distorting the shape of the breast. Round implants are generally less expensive than the anatomical implants. Available in both smooth and textured styles, round implants classically will give more upper pole fullness.
Some people claim that round implants produce a less-natural looking result than anatomical implants. This is because anatomical implants were designed to more closely resemble the shape of a natural breast. Critics of this claim state that round implants take the natural shape of the breast when held vertically into position in the body.
Anatomical implants, also known as tear drop implants are bottom heavy, and designed to create a more natural look. Anatomical implants, also known as contour implants, were originally developed for reconstructive breast surgery patients. Anatomical implants have also become very popular for cosmetic breast augmentation surgery. The tear-shaped, or bottom heavy, design of the anatomical implant was designed to create a more natural look.
Anatomical implants must be placed precisely into their pocket by an experienced surgeon to prevent the risk of malpositioning or other complications. Due to the shape of anatomical implants, it is very important they are positioned appropriately in the body. The shifting or flipping of anatomical implants is much more likely to distort the shape of the breast. To mitigate this risk, manufacturers of anatomical implants have made them with textured surfaces only. Textured implants will adhere to the capsule where they are placed to reduce the risk of movement.
Smooth vs. Textured Implant Surface
The breast implant shell can be smooth or textured and there are benefits and drawbacks to both smooth breast implants move freely in their pocket and usually have thinner shells than textured implants, while textured implants have a reported lower rate of capsular contracture
Breast implants can be smooth or textured. Smooth breast implants have the feel of a balloon while their textured counterparts feel more like fine sand paper. There are benefits and drawbacks to both surface types that a prospective patient may wish to discuss in detail with her breast augmentation surgeon.
Smooth Breast Implants
Smooth breast implants move freely in their pocket and usually have thinner shells than textured implants. Lower patient cost and less risk of rippling.
Textured implants were originally designed to reduce the risk of capsular contracture. Capsular contracture occurs when the scar around the breast implant grows and squeezes on the implant, causing the breast to harden. The claim that textured implants do, in fact, reduce the risk of capsular contracture has not been conclusively proven in medical studies. Textured implants have been found to have a higher rate of leaking and rippling of the breast after surgery.
Everyone is an individual with specific needs and desires and the best result for you will need a combination of implant type and location as well as size to create your desired breast augmentation result.
Dr Jeremy Hunt