Breast Augmentation Material and Options

Breast Implant MaterialsThe thought of having to decide what type of breast implant is best for you may seem like the job of the surgeon, but it’s not. Choosing the type, size and surgical access should be completely your decision assuming it can be performed safely. It is our job to make sure that you understand the difference between the various options to assist you in making the right decision for you. After a thorough exam at your consultation, we will discuss each of the below options that best suit your case to help you in making the decisions. Below is information on different breast implant options that will be discussed thoroughly at your consultation.

Implant Material:

The options available for implant material include silicone and saline. Both materials are great options. In fact, there is usually no visual difference between the two materials. However, depending on your examination, personal concerns and financial considerations, one material may be a better option for you. Both Silicone and Saline Implants are FDA approved, With Saline approved for individuals over the age of 18 and Silicone approved for those over the age of 22. See the advantages and disadvantages of each listed below.

Silicone Advantages:

  • More popular worldwide
  • More natural texture and feel
  • Less risk of visual rippling or wrinkling for individuals with less breast tissue

Silicone Disadvantages:

  • More Expensive
  • FDA recommends a surveillance MRI every 3 years to evaluate for rupture
  • Pre-filled implants that can’t be adjusted during surgery

Saline Advantages:

  • Less Expensive
  • Can adjust final fill volume during surgery to correct subtle asymmetries
  • In the case of leak or rupture, saline is harmlessly absorbed and eliminated by the body

Saline Disadvantages:

  • Less natural texture and feel
  • Higher risk of visual rippling for individuals with less breast tissue
  • Some report a slosh like sound with saline implants

Implant Sizing:

woman measuring her chestThe primary limitation in breast implant size is the natural width of your breast. Although larger implants may be desired, there is greater risk of complication in larger implants that are wider than your natural breast tissue. Implants do offer some versatility in the width by changes to the profile or projection of the implant. Different implant projections include moderate, high and extra-high profiles with decreasing widths as the projection increases. If the implant size you desire falls outside of the natural width of your breast, a higher profile implant may be an option for you. At your consultation we will discuss the different size limitations based on your measurements and discuss sizing homework that will help you narrow down the size you prefer.

Surgical Approach (Inframammary, Periareolar, Axillary):

illustration of Breast Implant techniqueThe most commonly used approach for breast augmentation is the Inframammary approach (under the fold), but there are other options available including the Periareolar (along the areola) and Axillary (through the armpit). Each option has advantages and disadvantages, but each of the incisions are hidden and camouflaged well. The benefits and disadvantages of each will be discussed at your consultation.

Above the muscle vs Below the Muscle:

illustration of Breast ImplantThe majority of breast implants performed at Carolina Surgical Arts are placed below the muscle or in a “Submuscular” fashion. There are certainly benefits to placing implants below the muscle including a more natural feel, reduced risk of capsular contracture and a more natural appearance. However, depending on your goals and activities such as heavy weightlifting or body building, above the muscle or “Subglandular” placement may be a better option for you. We will discuss these differences at your consultation.

Smooth Implants vs. Textured Implants:

breast implant samplesAlthough textured implants were initially developed to reduce the risk of capsular contracture, recent research shows that there is less benefit than originally thought. Additionally there has been a recent elective recall of textured implants by Allergan. For these reasons, Carolina Surgical Arts chooses to only place smooth implants.