Everything You need to know about Breast Implants
What are Breast Implants?
Breast Implants are medical devices used to change the size, shape, and contour of breasts. Breast Implants are used in:
- Breast Augmentation surgery to enlarge the appearance of the breasts.
- Breast Reconstruction surgery to restore a lost breast due to cancer or to correct congenital defects and deformities of the chest wall.
What are my options?
Breast Implants come with various options, which are mentioned below:
Option 1: Fill
Implants may either be filled with sterile salt water (Saline-filled) or soft silicone gel (Silicone gel-filled). More than 90% augmentations use silicone gel-filled implants.
Option 2: Shape
Implants may either be round shaped or anatomical (teardrop) shape. Anatomical implants offer result with contours that are more similar to the natural breast and are used in 30% cases.
Option 3: Surface
The outer shell of anatomical implants is textured. This offers the surrounding tissue a better surface for gripping, which keeps the implant in place and prevents any rotation.
Option 4: Cohesiveness
Breast Implants have to achieve a balance between soft to touch and form stability. Traditional breast implants are made from silicone or saline which is not a firm substance, and not specifically formulated to be resistant to a change in shape. Gummy bear implants (yes, they got their name because their consistency is similar to that of gummy bear candies!) are a new generation of silicone implants. These implants have higher crosslinks between the silicone molecules so the gel is more firm, yet soft enough to still feel like natural breast tissue.
Option 5: Size
The size of a breast implant have three dimensions to understand – width, projection and volume. Projection of an implant measures the distance an implant projects outward from the chest wall and is an important factor in deciding the aesthetic of the implant. Volume wise, generally 150 to 200 cc increases breast one cup size. However, the larger the chest size and breast size, the more volume it needs to a make a cup size.
Where are Breast Implants placed?
The implants are placed in a pocket either:
- Underneath the pectoral muscle, which is located between the breast tissue and chest wall. Placement of the implant underneath the pectoral muscle may interfere less with mammograms and breast-feeding. Your plastic surgeon will discuss this with you.
- Underneath the breast tissue and on top of the pectoral muscle.
Multiple factors, including your anatomy and your surgeon’s recommendations, will determine how your breast implant is inserted and positioned.
What should I look out for?
Breast implants are regulated medical devices and have been certified to be safe by regulatory authorities around the world, such as FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in USA and MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) in UK. However, you should discuss the following specific risks with your surgeon:
- Rupture: in some instances, breast implants may rupture due to surgical technique, trauma or fatigue. Ruptured silicone implants can cause breast pain or changes in the breast shape. In such cases the surgeon performs another surgery to either replace or remove the implant.
- Capsular Contracture: As part of natural healing process, a capsule forms around the implant. However sometimes this capsule tightens and compresses the implant distorting the breast shape. In such cases the surgeon performs another surgery to either replace or remove the implant.
- Cancer: In some cases women may develop ALCL, a lymphoma, adjacent to a breast implant. Breast implant associated ALCL is very rare and is highly treatable in majority of patients. Also, Breast implants may hinder the early detection of breast cancer. It is important to select a radiology technician who is experienced in taking x-rays of augmented breasts.