Breast Implants

There are many things to consider when researching breast implants. First and foremost, do your own research. Even the very best plastic surgeons don't have enough time to tell you everything you need to know when making certain decisions. Surgeons give general information and recommendations, it is up to the patient gather additional information.

There are many factors that should be considered regarding implants such as:

Silicone implants are silicone gel contained within a silicone shell. This type of implant is favored by many plastic surgeons and patients for breast reconstruction because the look and feel of it is more like that of a natural breast. There's also less chance of rippling.

Women who opt for silicone implants should undergo yearly MRI's to detect any possible leakage. This is because if the implant leaks the silicone is not absorbed by the body. It remains in the implant pocket so deflation isn't palpable or visible. Recent studies show that ruptured silicone implants do not increase the risk of immune system problems.

Saline implants are sterile salt water filled silicone shells. Women who have breast augmentation most often choose this type of implant because for years only women having breast reconstruction could choose silicone implants. The advantage of saline implants is that if they leakthe saline is merely absorbed by the body with no adverse effects. In addition, if the implant does leak, it simply deflates, making the problem known immediately. A few disadvantages are they are more likely to show rippling, have a firmer feel and look less natural.

Volume is measured by the amount of filler, silicone or saline is used in the implant shell. Such as 400cc's or 600cc's. The dimensions of the shells include the width and/or projection. The size of implant shells vary according to manufacturer, so a 400cc implant by one company may not be the same dimensions as a 400cc implant made by another company.

It's important to evaluate both implant volume and implant dimensions when selecting overall desired size results.


Round implants are the most common shaped used for both augmentation and reconstruction. When placed under the muscle, the material settles to the bottom giving it a more natural shape. When a woman lays down the implant settles back evenly, again looking more like a natural breast.In addition, any rotation with movement will not change the appearance.

Anatomical implants were introduced for reconstructive purposes to give the breast a more natural "tear drop" shape. They are "bottom heavy", meaning that because of their "egg-like" shape, more volume is directed to the bottom when in an upright position. This is a disadvantage however as the implant can turn or flip in the pocket. When a woman lays flat, the implant holds its shape, giving it an even less of a natural appearance. For this reason, they are implanted in a textured form to help maintain its position.

Smooth implants are only available in the round shape. They have thinner shells yet tend to last longer and it's for this reason they are used most often. The smooth shell will move inside the pocket the surgeon created making the breast move, look and feel more natural.

The main risk with smooth implants are capsular contracture. Capsular contracture occurs when the lining inside the chest pocket hardens and contracts excessively due to the implant constantly rubbing against the tissue much like how a callus forms on the foot. This excess firmness can push the implant out of position , changing the appearance of the breast. The risk of capsular contracture is relatively small; if the implant is placed above the muscle the risk is 20% - 30% and decreases to about 2% when placed under the muscle.

Textured implants have a thicker shell and are generally firmer than smooth implants. Textured implants were designed to help prevent capsular contracutre. Though widely studied, the findings have been inconclusive toward their effectiveness against contracture. The idea of the textured surface is to prevent scar tissue fibers from laying down in a uniform, parallel pattern, which would cause the breast pocket to firm and tighten.

Manufacturers make three different profiles to give women of all shapes and sizes more options. The base/diameter is the overall width of the implant. The projection is how much the implant protrudes from the chest wall forward.

Low profile implants have a wider base with less projection. Moderate profile implants have a wider base like the low profile, but have more projection. High/full profile implants have a narrow base with a high projection. This implant works best with women who have a small bodyframe and/or women who want the most projection.

Base and projections vary with manufacturers so it's important to thoroughly research each one in order to make the most informed decision. Your plastic surgeon will be able to advise you on the most appropriate size according to your frame, and you need to communicate clearly what type of results you most desire.

The purpose here is to provide enough information to get you started on your decision making process. More information can be found with the following links:

Mentor 3D Virtual Body Model
Implant Info
Just Breast Implants
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