Breast implants, whether used in breast augmentation or to address breast asymmetry or for any other purpose, are a hugely popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the UK.
However, even when a prospective patient is certain breast implants are a treatment they want, there is still the question of which type of implant is best for them.
There are numerous breast implant options available. These fall into a smaller number of main types. You will not be surprised to learn that there are benefits with each type and that different forms of breast implant can be best suited to different individual requirements.
In this post, we will run through the types of breast implant available and outline the differences.
However, first a note on why the prospective patient may not need to approach this as a question they answer alone.
As with all cosmetic surgery, breast implants should only be used when it is truly in the patient’s best interest to have a procedure.
Ascertaining whether surgery is to your benefit starts with a detailed consultation with a highly qualified cosmetic surgeon such as Anca. At a consultation, the surgeon would discuss at length why surgery was sought, what the patient’s motivations are and whether the results they seek are realistic. After all, we live in an age where some people may want results that would only realistic by applying an instagram filter.
If a plastic surgeon does agree that a procedure is a good option they will then advise the best form of implant.
Your surgeon will answer any questions and provide full information on the nature of the breast surgery, why they would opt for one form of implant and the recovery and after care. If more than one type of implant might be suitable, they would explain the pros and cons of each option.
Some implants will have a more natural feel than others, some require more regular checks, some are less likely to move around, some require slightly longer incisions.
There are numerous factors to take into consideration but the surgeon, experienced in hundreds of similar breast procedures is able to come with a well-reasoned suggestion.
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The Different Types Of Implant
The key differential is between saline and silicone implants.
Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water – this makes them the safest option as if the implant ever leaks the implant collapses and the saline is absorbed naturally and expelled by the body.
There is also a form of saline implant called a structured saline implant, these contain an inner structure the aim of which is to make the breast feel more natural.
Silicone implants – whereby the implant is filled with a silicone gel – feel more natural than saline options. If there is a leak the implant will not implode in the same way as with a saline implant, regardless of whether the gel remains within the implant pocket or escapes into the wider breast tissue.
Silicone implants often require more regular checks to ensure they are functioning correctly – however these will usually be routine, with modern, high quality implants designed to last for at least 10 years and often lasting many decades (it is impossible to predict how long any implant will last).
There are then further sub divisions.
Round vs anatomical (tear drop implants)
Round breast implants, as the name implies, are the same shape all round and have a smooth surface. This gives the breasts a uniform appearance and can make them seem fuller than other options. The symmetrical nature also means that rotation of the implant is less likely to be a cause for concern.The gel inside the round implants is generally softer than in anatomical implants, reducing their ability to shape the breast as much as the tear drop ones.
Anatomical impants are shaped like a tear drop and have a firmer gel inside. Their surface is textured and allows them to grip better, reducing the risk of bottoming out. The combination of shape and feel makes them ideal not only to “fill” the breast but also to address shape issues, such as tuberous breasts
Smooth vs textured implants:
Smooth breast implants feel soft and can have the most natural movement of any implant. With this natural movement, there can be some visible rippling under the skin
Textured implants feel less slippery than the smooth ones. Because of this they create more friction between the implant and its surroundings and develop more internal scar tissue, this in turn helping them to form a strong bond and be less likely to move around. However, it is worth noting that there is evidence that certain textured implants are the form of implant most closely linked with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
A Third Option
In some cases, a third option is also possible – to use fat grafted from elsewhere on the body to help to shape the breast. Although fat grafting sounds more appealing as it is your own tissue, using fat alone will not give you the volume or the shape you want as a significant percentage of fat sadly does not survive.
The use of fat mainly helps to shape the finalised breast, making it more look and feel that bit more natural.
Which Implant Option To Choose?
It is impossible to advice which type of implant will be most suitable in an online blog post – it depends greatly on an individual patient, both their aims with the surgery, the nature of their body and existing breast tissue and their attitude towards the two main types of implant.
Some women rule out silicone implants because of the increased need for regular checks, others have a strong preference for this form of implant because they want their breasts to feel more natural.
Other considerations such as recovery time and length of operation might also come into consideration, though these are often fairly standard across all options. Certainly, the length of operation is unlikely to be a major consideration.
Any leading cosmetic surgeon like Anca can help you arrive at a decision that is best suited to you- this decision might of course be to not have implants at all.
Rather than trying to settle on a precise type of implant before any consultation, you may be best served to think about what matters most in the implant – shape, size, how natural it looks and feels and also you attitude towards check-ups and follow-up appointments.
If you would like an obligation free consultation with a top female cosmetic surgeon whose expertise is in breast implants , contact Anca Breahna today.
Anca is one of the UK’s leading cosmetic surgeons and as a leading female surgeon has a deeply informed understanding of the process women go through when contemplating breast surgery.
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