Breast Implants - Types, Styles, Profiles, and Placement
Home Appointment Your Surgeon Office Location Out-Of-Town Patients Cost / Financing
Breast Augmentation and Breast Implants by T. Y. Steven Ip, MD, FACS
351 Hospital Rd., Suite 319
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Tel: (949) 548-0300 / Fax: (949) 548-2896
Types of Breast Implants
There are two basic categories of breast implants, saline and silicone. Saline breast implants are water-filled breast implants. The water used to fill the breast implants is normal saline, which is the same fluid that they use in intravenous fluid. Saline breast implants are very safe because it is only water. The water comes from a sterile bag of IV fluid, so if anything were to happen to the breast implants after a long period of time, the water can be easily absorbed by your body. It would be no different than drinking a glass of water. Silicone breast implants are filled with silicone gel. These are the breast implants that had some controversy in the early 1990s. The concern was due to the potential harm of the silicone gel. After a long period of time having the silicone gel breast implants, the fear was the exposure to the silicone gel , the affects that it might have on your body, and the possibility of causing medical illnesses. These medical concerns were answered with a large multi-center study. In this study they compared a large group of patients who had silicone breast implants to patients who never had breast implants. They followed the patients for many years and looked to see if there were any differences in the development of medical problems (breast cancer, autoimmune disease, lupus, etc..). In these two large groups, there were exactly the same with no difference in the number of medical problems. This proved that the silicone breast implants have no bearing on causing medical illnesses.
Styles of Breast Implants
Smooth vs. Textured
There are two difference types of surfaces on breast implants. There are breast implants with a smooth surface and breast implants with a textured surface. The smooth surface breast implants allow for mobility of the breast implants. The breast implants can glide and slide, when the breast are massaged. With manipulation and massaging, the breast implants can move more freely and behave more natural. The textured breast implants have a frictional surface. The breast implants will have less mobility and stay in a more fixed position. The reason behind the texturing of the breast implants is to decrease the possibility of scar formation around the breast implants, which we call capsular contracture. Theory is that the texturing will confuse any potential scar formation.
Round vs. Teardrop (Anatomical)
The breast implants can be round or teardrop (anatomical) in shape. The round implants have the advantage of maintaining symmetry regardless of any movement in the breast implants. The teardrop shape implants have the advantage of providing a more natural look. However, any rotation, twisting, or turning of the teardrop shaped breast implants will cause distortion and asymmetry of the breast. This makes placement of the teardrop shaped breast implants very important. It also makes the post-operative care by the patient very important. Patients generally can not sleep on their side for a period of time and have to wear a tight compressive bra until the teardrop shaped breast implants have set in the right position.
Breast Implant Profile
The breast implants can come in different profiles. They can come in moderate, moderate-plus, and high profile. The choice of breast implant profile is dependent on the desired look and the body proportions of the patient. In general, the moderate and the moderate-plus implants give a more natural look and is the standard breast implants used. The high profile implants have more narrow base and more projection. It is better for patients with small body frames but who want to go with a larger size breast implants.
Placement of Breast Implants
Incisions: Infra-Mammary Crease, Peri-Areolar (Nipple), Transaxillary (Armpit)
There are three reliable incisions that can be used for breast augmentation. The decision is dictated by the patient's preference of where to hide the scar. The incision site does not effect the level of pain after the surgery. It also should not impede a patient's desire to breast feed, even if patients choose the peri-areolar approach. Patient's may have also heard about the trans-umbilical (scarless) breast augmentation. The trans-umbilical incisions is the least desirable and not considered a reliable approach to breast augmentation. The pitfall to the trans-umbilical approach is that the surgery is done "blind"; the pocket dissection is imprecise; there is a higher chance of bleeding; and most importantly you forfeit the lifetime warranty of your breast implants.
Submuscular vs. Subglandular
Most breast implants are placed in the submuscular position. There are several important advantages of placing breast implants underneath the muscle. First, the submuscular position gives the implants a smoother look on the upper pole of the breast. Secondly, there is also a decreased chance of scar formation around the implants (Capsular Contracture). Finally, patients can obtain better mammogram pictures when screening for breast cancer. The only time that a subglandular approach may be beneficial is for patients with enough natural breast tissue like a "C" cup and desires breast implants. The breast implants in that scenario can fall into the pocket a little bit better when they are placed in the subglandular position.
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Disclaimer: This breast augmentation and breast implants before and afters photos (pictures) is an informational website. This breast augmentation and breast implants before and afters photos (pictures) is helpful in planning and deciding on the size of the breast implants when choosing breast augmentation surgery. Deciding on breast augmentation and breast implants is a very personal decision. This breast augmentation and breast implants before and afters photos (pictures) website is intended for educational purposes only. Your breast augmentation and breast implant results can vary depending on your individual body and your breast augmentation and breast implant surgeon.