In San Diego, breast augmentation is one of the most common procedures I perform. Breast augmentation patients are some of the most well informed of any cosmetic surgery, but I would like to start a series of educational topics that, I hope, will help you make the best decision regarding your breast augmentation surgery.
Type of implant
Breast implants options in the United States are currently limited to either saline implants or a silicone gel breast implant. Both implants are made of a surrounding silicone “shell” and filled with different solutions. Saline is basically salt water and what we normally use in IV fluid. These implants are empty and filled in surgery to the desired volume. This allows us to make fine adjustments during the procedure to accommodate slight asymmetries that most women have between their breasts.
Silicone implants contain a cohesive silicone gel within the same exterior shell. These implants come pre-filled with specific amounts of fluid that cannot be changed. These implants are inserted filled through the incision into their desired location. I am somewhat limited in the adjustments that can be made with silicone implants as the fine-tuning is made in predetermined increments.
Saline breast implants are produce a look that is a bit more round and firmer to the touch. Silicone implants are much softer and behave more like a natural breast. Saline and silicone implants can demonstrate “rippling” or visibility of the implant beneath thin skin, but this is much more common with the saline option. I see approximately 90% of my patients choosing silicone implants for their breast augmentation.
Both saline and silicone implants are produced in different “profiles.” The low profile implant is slightly wider and projects less out from the chest giving a very subtle augmentation. A moderate profile implant is a bit narrower with more projection – the most common implant used in the US, and this fits most women’s needs. A high profile implant is designed to produce a more dramatic change with allowing for more volume to be placed in a smaller area, and as a result even more projection. Finally, there is an ultra high profile implant (Allergan only) that will produce a very round shape – needed in rare circumstances.
Stay tuned for our next installment of the “Breast Augmentation Need to Know Series” where we will discuss the pros and cons of each implant.