Breast implants are the second-most popular form of plastic surgery in the world, and the most popular plastic surgery procedure in the US. Whether it’s for reasons of self-esteem, sexual desirability, or wanting to fit in (or wanting to stand out!) over 300,000 American women get breast implants every year.
We’ve come a long way from the early days of breast augmentation in the last 50 years. Today, technological breakthroughs make it safer and easier than ever to get breasts in the size and shape that you want. You’re probably familiar with round breast implants in saline or silicone, but did you know that there are now also shaped implants? Here’s how to know what kind is right for you.
Round Breast Implants
Since the 1960s, the most common kind of breast implant for breast implantation has been a round sac filled with saline or silicone gel. The implant is generally inserted behind the major muscle of the chest. With today’s surgical procedures, breast implants don’t affect the functionality of the breast or the ability to breastfeed children, so they’re safe to get at most stages of a woman’s life.
These traditional implants are still the most popular choice, for many reasons. Because the implant is malleable, it can be inserted into the breast with a smaller incision. Also, they are more fluid in appearance, with a teardrop appearance when standing and a flatter appearance when laying down, mimicking the movement of natural breasts. Various sizes of round breast implants, sometimes combined with a breast lift, can provide flattering and realistic results for the majority of patients.
Shaped Breast Implants
While breast implants have traditionally been round in shape, there is now an alternative: in February 2013 the FDA approved a teardrop-shaped silicone gel implant, also called a “form-stable” implant or a “gummy bear” implant. Form-stable implants have more substance at the top of the breast, which can create a more improved breast shape: the implant holds its shape, can have a stronger effect on the overlying tissue and can have a decreased risk of rippling on the breast. That makes shaped implants a good choice for women who have very minimal breast tissue to begin with, or women who want to reconstruct their breasts after a mastectomy from cancer surgery.
Additionally, although there is not yet a large body of data on the long-term effects, some of the potential complications from breast augmentation surgery may be minimized with shaped implants. For example, because the shaped implants are less likely to fold over on themselves (in an area known as a “fold flaw”), they may be less likely to rupture than traditional round implants. There also may be less risk of capsular contracture, where the body responds to a foreign material by creating capsules of tightly-woven collagen fibers, which can squeeze and distort the breast implant in an unattractive and sometimes painful way.
However, there are also some drawbacks to shaped implants. Because they are a newer technology, the cost of the procedure is higher. From a physical point of view, there is always a risk that implants may rotate after being placed, and if shaped implants rotate it will distort the shape of the breast. Teardrop implants are firmer than round implants and are usually textured to prevent them from slipping or rotating, which can make them feel more unnatural and may cause some skin wrinkling. Also, while round breast implants are more malleable and can be inserted with a smaller incision, the more rigid consistency of shaped breast implants means that they have to be inserted with a larger, more obvious incision. All in all, it’s usually best to only use shaped teardrop breast implants in breast reconstruction surgery rather than typical breast augmentation.
If you believe that larger, fuller, or perkier breasts would improve your quality of life, give Dr. Hubbard a call. He and all the staff at the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute are friendly and professional and will walk you through the process every step of the way.
For more information on plastic surgery procedures and treatments performed by Plastic Surgeon, Bradley Hubbard MD in Dallas, TX and surrounding areas. You can schedule a private detailed consultation by clicking here or calling 214.370.4813.