Breast implants is one of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures. It addresses concerns about small breast size and asymmetry which result in embarrassment, hence the surgery is popular. Breasts lose their natural shape and firmness and droop or sag due to factors such as advancing age, pregnancy or nursing.
With their smaller breasts, women typically describe a lack of confidence, feeling less attractive and being limited in clothing choices. Before having children, these concerns lead some to investigate augmentation early in life.
Enclosed in a thick layer of fatty tissue, breasts mainly consist of milk ducts and glands. For cosmetic purposes to augment the shape and size of the breast, breast implants may be surgically implanted below the breast tissue. After mastectomy or loss of breast tissue secondary to trauma or injury, breast implants may also be used for breast reconstruction. At times, it might also be used to rectify birth defects and can be placed over or under the chest muscles.
The following criteria are to be considered:
- At least 18 years old
- Must not have any active infection or illness
- Must not be currently pregnant or nursing
- Must not have an existing pre-malignant or malignant cancer of the breast
Preference of Implants
v Size: Breast size after surgery depends on the size of the implant chosen and the initial breast size before the surgery. In choosing the right sized implant the plastic surgeon will advice.
v Shape: Two shapes are available for breast implants –
v Round Breast Implants: The breast implants are shaped round.
v Shaped Breast Implants: The breast implants are tear drop in shape. Gently sloping downwards, these resemble the shape of a mature breast.
v Profile: The outward projection of the implant is referred here and is available in three profiles: high, moderate and low. A few companies also have an extra-high profile. For a particular size and shape, high profile breast implants have maximum outward projection.
v Surface texture: Shaped breast implants are available only with textured shell surface whereas round shaped breast implants are available with both smooth and textured shell surfaces.
v Implant Filler: Breast implants are either saline filled or silicone gel filled.
For placement, saline filled breast implants require a smaller incision. Only after surgical placement of the implant these are filled with saline. The surgery allows the surgeon to make minor adjustments to the volume during filling. In the event of an implant rupture (a rare event) saline implants are considered safer as only the filled saline will be released into the tissue. Nevertheless, as compared to silicone filled implants, these implants look less natural.
Other than the saline implants, silicone gel filled implants feel softer and have a more natural look. It does require a longer incision for implantation as silicone gel filled implants are pre-filled. Should the implant rupture, the newer silicone implants have a thicker shell and thicker silicone gel which significantly reduces the risks of gel bleed and release of silicone gel.
Depending on one’s preferences, the plastic surgeon will assist and advice on the breast implants to be obtained.