What you should know about breast implants
Breast augmentation is the most popular kind of plastic surgery procedure across the United States. Many women want to change the size, shape or appearance of their breasts in order to enhance their look, improve the fit of clothes or boost their confidence whether on the beach or in more intimate situations. Every year, around 280,000 women choose to have plastic surgery for breast enlargement, making use of silicone or saline implants. This is not to mention the approximately 106,000 breast cancer patients who have reconstructive plastic surgery after mastectomy every year; in many cases, these women also opt for breast implants.
This means that in the past 20 years, the popularity of breast augmentation has more than doubled. It may seem that having your ideal body is more achievable than ever and safer than in the past, due to advances in medical technology. If you’re thinking about breast implants, there are some facts that you can keep in mind to help you make a decision and choose the right doctor and solution for you.
Why do you want breast implants?
Every woman is unique, with individual motivations behind her desire for larger breasts. There are a number of reasons why women consider breast implants, including:
- Enlarging breasts that are naturally smaller
- Restoring breast size after changes due to weight loss, pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Enhancing breast symmetry when one breast is naturally larger than the other
- Restoring the appearance of the breasts after mastectomy
Studies have shown that women who opt for breast augmentation surgery typically feel higher self-esteem, more body confidence, and greater libido after the procedure because they feel better about the appearance of their bodies.
When considering breast implant surgery, it makes sense to think about what you want to get out of the procedure and to have some achievable goals in mind. Breast implants cannot totally reshape the body, but a skilled plastic surgeon can help you to achieve a beautiful, natural appearance that can boost your comfort in your own skin.
What are the types of breast implants?
There are two major types of breast implants that women choose when opting for breast augmentation: saline implants and silicone gel-filled implants.
Saline implants are filled with a sterile saline solution, similar to salt water. This solution is contained within a silicone shell. Each implant is filled with different amounts of saline solution in order to produce differences in size, feel and shape. Saline implants first became popular in the 1990s after concerns about early silicone implants leaking into the body and causing health problems. Unlike silicone, if the saline solution leaks into the body, it will be naturally absorbed and expelled with no ill effects.
Silicone gel-filled implants are a modern silicone option approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006. They are filled with silicone gel. In 1962, silicone implants were first introduced and they became very popular by the 1980s. In 1992, after reports of health concerns and lawsuits against the manufacturers of leaking breast implants, these earlier silicone options were taken off the market. Today’s silicone implants were approved in 2006 and have become widely used in the ensuing 13 years.
Why choose one type of implant over another?
Women have great options for breast augmentation, but there are a number of reasons why they might prefer one type of implant over another. All current research indicates that there is no significant difference in the safety of saline and silicone gel implants for women’s long-term health. Still, women seeking breast augmentation can consider their choices.
Risk of Rupture
Ruptured implants are a possibility with any type of breast implants. In some cases, women’s implants can rupture during a fall, severe accident or another type of strong pressure on the breast. However, what happens after a rupture can vary based on whether you’ve chosen silicone or saline implants. It is usually obvious if a saline implant ruptures; the breast will change size and shape as the fluid leaks. Since saline implants contain essentially sterile saltwater, this will be harmlessly expelled by the body in the ensuing days.
On the other hand, it is more difficult to spot a ruptured silicone gel-filled implant. In addition, the human body cannot absorb silicone, so the leaked material stays inside the body and can spread outside the breast, including the lymph nodes. Studies have not found an increased risk of disease associated with ruptured silicone implants, but you should probably have the ruptured implant and loose silicone removed in this case.
In addition, the FDA recommends that women with silicone gel implants get an MRI
three years after surgery and every two years after to detect the possibility of rupture. You may wish to investigate whether these scans will be covered by your insurance.
Look and Feel
With all the extra testing, why do women choose silicone implants? Aside from the fact that their safety is supported by clinical research, the look and feel are often considered superior to saline. The heft of silicone gel implants and their unique texture allows them to feel, move and look more like your natural breasts. They can be almost undetectable in the hands of a skilled surgeon.
The Choice is Yours
People have many different aesthetic preferences, and breast augmentation can help them achieve their goals for their appearance and body. There is one thing to keep in mind: choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon for the look you want to achieve. While other types of doctors may offer cosmetic breast procedures, only board-certified plastic surgeons have gone through a plastic surgery residency and are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery that they have gone through extensive training, detailed education and demanding examinations.
Dr. Scot Glasberg is an experienced board-certified NYC plastic surgeon who has successfully performed breast augmentations for thousands of satisfied patients. When you come in for a consultation with Dr. Glasberg, he can recommend specific surgical options or implant sizes based on the outcome that you want to achieve, based on your unique desires, medical history and vision for the outcome.
If you’re thinking about whether breast implants, call Dr. Glasberg’s office at 212-717-8550 or use our simple online form to set up an initial consultation at our Manhattan location.