Breast Implants 101: What Are the Right Implants for Me?

Aging, hormone changes, childbirth and breastfeeding can dramatically impact the shape, size and firmness of your breasts. Perhaps you’ve always wanted a fuller bust, or you’ve noticed your breasts don’t sit as high as they once did. Perhaps your breasts feel deflated, or maybe you’ve had surgery that has altered their appearance. From creating voluptuous curves to rebuilding the breasts after a mastectomy, Dr. Christine Fisher and her staff offer expertise and experience as well as a variety of breast implant options to meet your needs.

Types of Breast ImplantsTypes of Breast Implants

There are two main types of breast implants used for breast augmentation: saline and silicone gel. Both implants have a flexible outer silicone shell, but the inner material is what makes them different. Saline breast implants are filled with a sterile saltwater solution. These breast implants tend to feel firmer and can have a water balloon consistency that’s like water sloshing back and forth inside the breast. Silicone implants, on the other hand, are filled with a silicone gel with a cohesive consistency that mimics the look and feel of natural breast tissue. While both breast implants have their benefits, Dr. Fisher primarily uses silicone gel breast implants, as they provide an optimal breast augmentation or breast reconstruction result that’s both beautiful and natural looking.

History of Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone breast implants were developed in the 1960s and first implanted in 1962. Silicone implants quickly became the implant of choice among patients because of their natural look and feel. At this point in history, there was very little regulation or research required to use an implant (or any medical device), so possible side effects were relatively unknown.

During this time, some patients developed chronic pain, systemic health problems and other disorders that made them question whether their silicone implants were making them sick. In 1992, silicone implants were taken off the market by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and studies were initiated to investigate the safety of the implants. In 2006, after intense research, silicone gel breast implants were deemed safe and approved by the FDA for breast augmentation in patients 22 years of age and older. Today, breast augmentation remains the most-performed cosmetic procedure in the United States.

Many people have reservations about the history of silicone implants: they were implanted into millions of patients, suddenly taken off the market and then approved for use in patients. Fortunately, multiple modifications have been made to silicone breast implants since the 1960s. The first implants were filled with a thin, oily silicone liquid. If leaks or ruptures in the shell occurred, this oily liquid could migrate to other parts of the body. The modern-day silicone breast implant is made of a cohesive gel that resembles the feel of gummy-bear candy. If leaks or ruptures occur, the gel sticks together and will not migrate to other parts of the body like first-generation silicone implants.

In addition to making improvements to the silicone material inside breast implants, researchers have studied whether there are differences among patients with health issues based on the type of breast implant used in the patient. Vigorous research has found that silicone and saline breast implants have the same minimal risk of systemic health problems, disorders and chronic pain. This research, combined with the clinical expertise and experience of Dr. Fisher and her staff, allows silicone gel breast implants to be safely used for breast augmentation and breast reconstruction.

Implant Volume and Projection

Silicone gel breast implants come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to meet the needs of every body type and personal preference. Breast implant volumes are measured in cubic centimeters (CCs), not cup size. CCs are a uniform, consistent measurement, whereas cup size can fluctuate. Implant volume is not the only factor considered in selecting an appropriate implant. Implant profile is used to describe how much an implant projects from the chest wall and is an important consideration in helping you achieve your cosmetic goals. Dr. Fisher will guide you through the decision-making process. She will consider your body shape, the amount of breast tissue, the width of your breasts and your desired goals to advise you on the breast implant volume and projection that will best enhance your breasts.

Implant Shape and Texture

Breast implants come in two shapes: round or teardrop. They also come in a smooth or textured outer shell. Dr. Fisher will help you determine which implant shape and texture is right for your breast enhancement or reconstruction. For traditional cosmetic breast augmentation, round smooth silicone implants are most often used. The smooth texture allows the implant to move freely in the breast “pocket” that is created to hold the implant, resulting in a natural feel and look to the breast.

For patients with thin breast tissue, or for patients who are rebuilding their breasts after a mastectomy, a textured teardrop implant may be used. A teardrop-shaped implant follows the slope of natural breast tissue, starting thin at the top of the chest and filling out at the base of the breast. This sloped shape creates a natural breast shape in patients who have little or no natural breast tissue. The textured aspect of the teardrop implant helps the implant stay in place in the breast “pocket,” preventing a visible malposition.

Both smooth round and textured teardrop implants can be used for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Dr. Fisher will help you decide which implant is best for you.

Begin Your Journey

To begin your breast augmentation or breast reconstruction journey, you will have an in-depth consultation with Dr. Fisher. During this first step, Dr. Fisher will listen to your concerns and goals, evaluate your current breast tissue and advise you on the best implant options to either enhance your breasts or rebuild them following mastectomy. Our office is entirely staffed by women so that our patients have a comfortable and welcoming environment to ask questions and share concerns. Call us today at 512-815-0123 to schedule your consultation. Together we will help you achieve the look you desire.

Christine Fisher MD

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Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

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