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Posted November 14, 2023 in Breast Enhancement

When you decide it’s time to enhance your figure and add more curves with breast augmentation surgery, you might think that you simply choose which size you’d like, and you’re ready for the procedure. However, innovations in breast implants over the years have increased your options so that you can not only choose the size of the implants but also the material.

Below, we break down the pros and cons of the types of breast implants available so that you’re better prepared to make the right choice for your breast augmentation surgery.

A woman and her surgeon compare breast implants

A Short History of Breast Augmentation

Attempts at breast augmentation date back as far as 1889, when an enterprising surgeon used a combination of paraffin and petroleum jelly to increase women’s breast size. Over the next 72 years, various other materials were used, including ox cartilage, glass balls, ivory, balls of polyethylene tape, and liquid silicone (just to name a few). Finally, in 1961, scientists created the first silicone breast implant, followed by saline implants in 1964.

Saline implants have been used consistently ever since, while silicone implants were unavailable for several years due to concerns about side effects. However, extensive research showed that in the vast majority of cases, silicone implants pose no risk of health problems, and in 2006, they were FDA-approved once again. In 2012, the new highly cohesive “gummy bear implants” were approved, giving patients a third option for breast implants.

Saline Breast Implants

Saline breast implants are FDA-approved for anyone over 18 and usually last about ten years. They consist of a silicone shell filled with sterile saline solution. If ruptured, the saline flows out, and your breast will deflate.

Advantages of Saline Implants

  • Saline implants are inserted empty and filled once in position, allowing for a smaller incision.
  • Increasing the implant size is more manageable, as your surgeon can add more solution if necessary.
  • If a saline implant ruptures, it is noticeable immediately, and the sterile saline solution is safely absorbed into your body.

Disadvantages of Saline Implants

  • Saline implants only come in a round shape, so they may not look as natural as silicone implants.
  • Because they’re filled with liquid instead of gel, saline implants also feel less like natural breast tissue than silicone implants.
  • In some cases, the edges of the saline implant are visible through your skin, creating a rippled appearance.

Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone breast implants consist of a silicone shell filled with a silicone gel. They are FDA-approved for patients 22 and older and last about 20 years. If a silicone breast implant ruptures, the gel oozes slowly out of the implant, making it difficult to detect a leak.

Advantages of Silicone Implants

  • The thick gel used in silicone implants makes your breasts look and feel more like actual breast tissue.
  • Because they come in round or teardrop shapes, silicone implants allow you to choose whether you’d like more cleavage (round) or a more natural profile (teardrop).
  • Silicone implants typically last longer than saline implants.

Disadvantages of Silicone Implants

  • Silicone implants require more extensive incisions depending on the size of the implant.
  • The denseness of the silicone gel makes it harder to detect a leak or rupture in your implant.
  • Patients with silicone implants should get an MRI every two years to ensure there are no leaks or ruptures in the implant.

Gummy Bear Breast Implants

Gummy bear implants consist of a silicone shell filled with a highly cohesive silicone gel. They are known as “form-stable,” meaning that if there is a leak, the implant retains its form, like a gummy bear would if you cut it in half. Also FDA-approved for patients 22 and over, gummy bear implants last 20 or more years.

Advantages of Gummy Bear Implants

  • Gummy bear implants are shown to reduce your risk of capsular contracture.
  • They look more like natural breasts, fuller at the bottom and tapering towards the top.
  • Because the silicone in a gummy bear implant is highly cohesive, there is much less risk of a leak or rupture.

Disadvantages of Gummy Bear Implants

  • Unlike round implants, it is noticeable if your gummy bear implant moves or rotates.
  • While they do look and feel like natural breasts, some patients think they are too firm.
  • Because of their firmness, gummy bear implants may require a larger incision than saline or silicone implants.

Learn More About Breast Augmentation in Dallas

If you’re ready for breast augmentation surgery but overwhelmed by your choices, Dr. David Morales is ready to help. Dr. Morales is a board-certified surgeon who takes pride in combining artistry and science to offer his patients stunning results no matter what type of breast implant they choose. To schedule a consultation to discuss your breast implant options, call 214-827-8407 or fill out the online contact form.

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