Breast augmentation has been developed into an art form and the results are excellent for the majority of women. The type of implant which is best for you and the size you desire are greatly influenced by your body type, breast anatomy and the size you want. Other factors which play a role in the type of implant you want include:
- the surgeon's clinical judgment
- the surgeons skills
- your lifestyle
- your goals and preferences
Today there are a variety of implants available and each year; implants with new styles and shapes are introduced thus giving you a wider option of selection.
In the majority of cases, breast implants are devices with an outer silicone rubber covering. The inside of the implant can be filled with either sterile water or silicone gel. Today, both fillers have been approved by the FDA for use in North America
Since the silicone controversy of the past decade, every breast implant undergoes rigorous testing for function and toxicity before it is approved for use in humans.
All breast implants size is measured by the amount of liquid volume placed inside the shell. Besides just filling the implant with a liquid, other important factor which govern a breast implant are:
Texture: it is important that the implant have a soft, round and smooth feel. Most women and men prefer that the feel of the implant be smooth and have a texture similar to a normal breast. The smooth surface implant requires a large pocket and is associated with a 10% incidence of capsule contracture (tightening of the scar around the implant causing firmness or hardness). The smooth implant can rarely also cause rippling or wrinkling which gives the overlying skin a wavy appearance. A textured (roughened surface) implant is associated with a 3% incidence of capsule contracture but has a 7-9% occurrence of rippling.
Shape: even though most implants are round in shape, the shape generally is influenced by the breast anatomy. Most individuals end up with an implant which appears slightly oval, tear dropped or tapered in shape
Profile: Depending on your style, profession, and desire, you may select an implant with a high or low profile. The high profile implants are usually obvious
The ultimate size of the breast is mainly a personal decision by the patient. Cup size is an inexact estimate of the final size. One way of picking the breast size is to look at before and after photos shown by the surgeon. This will give you a realistic idea about what you will look like.
The most accurate method of estimating the implant size is to fill a sample implant with measured amounts of water and place it in a bra. One can then view in a mirror what the final result will approximate.
Nevertheless, despite countless decisions, almost all patients wish they had a larger breast size.
The breast implants can either be placed under the breast tissue or underneath the breast muscles. The implant is best placed underneath the muscles because of the lower incidence of capsular contraction and less skin wrinkling. But the procedure is slightly longer and associated with more pain afterwards.
Even though the surgeons claim that women of all ages can undergo breast augmentation, this is not correct. Only women who have fully matured breast should undergo breast enlargement. The lowest age at which breast implants can be done is 18, whereas silicone implants are usually approved for women aged 22 and over
There are no breast implants which last a life time. At most, the average lifespan is about 10-15 years and future surgery may be required to replace one or both the implants.
Women who undergo breast implants need regular follow up with their physicians to ensure that the devices are working as designed. Women with breast implants should not undergo mammograms as the risk of rupture is real. MRI is the preferred method to investigate women with implants