Types of Breast Implant Materials
In modern times, there are two main types of materials used to fill the implants for breast augmentations. Saline implants are filled with a sterilized solution of salt water that is similar to the saline solution used for other medical purposes. Silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel that is thick and sticky. Gummy bear implants are a relatively new implant type that is technically a form of silicone implants, but instead of being a shell that is filled with a liquid, they are somewhat more solid. Even if the silicone material is broken or ruptured, a gummy bear implant maintains its shape instead of collapsing into a puddle.
How Do Different Implant Types Look?
Generally, most women want breast augmentations that look more natural, so a big part of choosing implant material is how it will look. There is a slight tendency for saline implants to form ripples that show through the skin, especially when a patient leans forward. Silicone implants are less likely to ripple around the edges, but it still occurs occasionally. The cohesive shape of a gummy bear silicone implant does not result in ripples, but it may look a little unnatural when it is compressed.
What Do the Different Implant Types Feel Like?
Saline implants tend to feel a little bit firmer and more unnatural than silicone implants. Out of the body, they may seem squishy, but once they are placed in the breasts, they feel less like a bag of water. The silicone used in other implants has more give, and it generally tends to mimic the feel of natural breast tissue a little better. Gummy bear implants are firmer than other types of silicone implants, so their texture is quite similar to the gummy bears they are named after. Normally, most patients who feel various implants agree that silicone or gummy bear implants feel the most natural.
Are Different Implants Shaped Differently?
The traditional shape of an implant is a rounded shape, which is achieved with a dome shaped outer shell that can be filled with either saline or silicone. Round implants use a smooth implant shell, so it is less likely to be felt or noticed. With the new availability of gummy bear implants, other shapes besides round are now available. The form-stable qualities of gummy bear implants allow them to be shaped like a teardrop or an oval, which some patients prefer to the obviously round shape of a noticeably artificial breast. Gummy bear implants can also be found in customized shapes to balance out unusual breast shapes.
What Are the Risks Associated With Different Implant Types?
The main risk in any type of implant is that it may rupture, requiring a surgery to remove the old implant and possibly replace it. Saline implants are filled with a solution that is similar to bodily fluid, so if it ruptures, the saline solution is just reabsorbed by the body without any sort of health risks. If the capsule of a silicone implant breaks, it will not be reabsorbed by the body. However, medical grade silicone is not harmful, and it will mostly stay within the pocket where the implant was placed. However, these types of silicone implants may cause some irritation of subdermal tissues. There is not a risk of leaking with gummy bear implants because they are so highly cohesive. Even if the outer shell of the implant does rupture, the contents of a gummy bear implant stay in one place and do not leak through the body.
How Long Do Different Implant Types Last?
Saline implants have a filling valve that may fail, and they deflate rapidly if ruptured. Therefore, women with saline implants are more likely to need a second operation. If the outer shell of a silicone implant ruptures, it does not leak into surrounding tissue like saline does. Because they are so new, there is no precise data on how long gummy bear implants last, but they seem to be at least as durable as silicone gel implants. Often, women do not even notice that a silicone or gummy bear implant has ruptured. Typically, after 10 years, 10 percent of women with saline implants will need a second operation, and only 5 percent of women with silicone implants will need another operation.
What Incision Sizes Are Needed for Different Implant Types?
The various types of breast surgery are largely different because of the varying locations of incisions. No matter how good a woman’s recovery is, there will most likely be minimal scarring. Some incision sites help to hide scarring, but others may be safer or prevent loss of sensation. Depending on a patient’s body and surgical goals, a surgeon may recommend a specific type of incision procedure. There are four main types of incisions that are commonly used by breast reconstruction surgeons. Normally, incisions are done in the natural breast crease, along the edge of the areola, under the armpit, or through the navel. A saline implant can be inserted while empty and then filled once it is in the body, so the incision needed for a saline implant is much smaller. Saline implants can therefore be done from most incisions In contrast, silicone implants or gummy bear implants are inserted in their final form, so larger incisions are needed during surgery. These bigger incisions sizes make it impossible to insert silicone and gummy bear implants through a navel incision.
Where Are Different Implants Placed During Surgery?
There are a few different places within the breast and chest tissue where an implant can be placed. Each of these sites comes with their own unique sets of pros and cons. In a subglandular implant, the implant is placed over the chest muscles and under the mammary glands. This looks natural and aesthetic, but there are more risks of ripples caused by saline or silicone implants showing through skin. Submuscular implants are implants placed underneath the chest muscle, so the implant is covered better, and the sloping muscle keeps the top arc of the breast from looking unnaturally round. However, the implant can be deformed by the movements of muscles. Many plastic surgeons use subglandular implants for silicone implants and submuscular implants for saline.
What Are the Costs Associated With Different Implants?
Costs vary depending on the individual surgeon and the complications of each unique breast augmentation surgery, but all types of implants follow the same general pricing trends. Because they are made from basic materials, saline implants have the lowest cost. Silicone gel implants are slightly more than saline, but the price jump is not very large. Since they are the most modern and technologically advanced option, gummy bear implants tend to cost significantly more than either saline or silicone gel implants. However, it is important to keep in mind that the overall cost of a surgery could be cheaper, even if a pricier implant is used, because it may be easier to install certain types of implants.