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Types of Breast Implants – Finding What is Right For You

There are many kinds of breast implants to choose from and finding what is right for you may prove challenging if you are only just beginning your research. We have prepared a general overview* of the different types of breast implants to get you started in your research, but If you would rather speak to a cosmetic surgeon, call (07) 3391 5710 or book an appointment with Dr Georgina Konrant online. If you’re looking for more general information about breast surgery procedure itself, visit our breast surgery Brisbane page or continue reading here to learn more about the different types of breast implants.

What Kinds of Breast Implants Are There?

Searching for information on the types of breast implants available in Australia can be tricky, especially if you are looking for official or government resources which, although they provide important information you should review before considering any breast implant surgery, do not list much in the way of information on the different kinds of breast implants specifically. One of the more recent publications tackling this topic specifically is a published in 2001 “Breast Implant Information Booklet (4th Edition)” Produced by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, Therapeutic Goods Administration. It is now almost 20 years old. It does, however, list the following three types of implants:

  • Silicone gel-filled implants
  • Saline-filled implants
  • Double lumen implants – silicone gel-filled core and saline-filled periphery

According to healthdirect, “Some women prefer the feel of silicone implants to saline implants. Saline implants cause fewer problems than silicone implants if there is any leaking.”. Your first consideration may then be the materials (filling) used in the production of breast implants. The Department of Health, Therapeutic Goods Administration Breast Implant Hub, identifies several differences in the types of breast implants – “Most implants are either round or teardrop-shaped. They may be filled with saline (sterile salt water) or with silicone gel. The surface of the implant may be smooth or rough (textured), and different implants may vary in the amount of irregularity of the texture.”. Your further considerations may then include things such as shape, texture and (more obviously) size.

Types of Breast Implants by Filling

Silicone gel-filled implants

Early versions of silicone breast implants experienced issues with ruptures which led to serious health complications for the women who received them; however, the changes made to these implants by the 21st century, see them implanted into patients seeking breast enlargement as often as their saline-filled counterparts. Silicone reportedly produces a more “natural” feel at a higher potential for scarring (). “The ‘Breast’ Choice” article in the Winter 2010 “In the Know” supplement to the Dermatology Times quotes a then-US-based, certified, plastic surgeon Michael Kluska: “If a woman is OK with a larger scar and wants the breasts to feel more natural, silicone is the way to go . . . “The silicone implants now on the market are the reformulated, silicone gel-filled implants. “Breast implant manufacturers created silicone cohesive gel implants that are less like ‘maple syrup’ and more like ‘jelly’”. This serves to minimise the implant’s movement through the patient’s body in the event of a rupture and makes the implant easier to remove if necessary. Silicone implants, which come pre-filled, require a larger incision for implantation. Should a silicone implant leak, surgery will be necessary to remove it. It is also more difficult to remove the leaked silicone itself (2).

Saline-filled implants

Conversely, Dr Kluska claims that if the patient is “. . . looking for a 100 per cent guarantee that the implant will never have an interaction with her body, then saline is the right choice . . . “ Saline is sometimes described as feeling more similar to water balloons, however. Since the saline implants are filled after they are implanted into the patient’s body, the incision necessary for surgery is smaller. It is immediately more apparent if a saline implant leaks since it will look deflated. Should this happen, the patient’s body will be able to absorb the saline solution, but the remainder of the implant will have to be removed and/or replaced (3).

Double lumen implants

Double-lumen implants have a fixed amount of saline and silicone inside (4). There are several sub-types to the double-lumen implants (5):

  • Standard double-lumen with a silicone gel inner lumen and a saline outer lumen
  • Reverse double lumen with a saline inner lumen and a silicone gel outer lumen
  • Reverse-adjustable double-lumen with a silicone gel inner and outer lumens where a variable amount of saline may be added to the inner lumen during implantation
  • Gel-gel double-lumen with both inner and outer lumens filled with silicone gel

Types of Breast Implants by Shape

The Americal Society of Plastic Surgeons describes two shapes which prospective patients may want to consider based on their requirements.

Round implants

Round implants are the most common shape and make the breast appear spherical post-surgery, and are available in several sub-types of different projection (6) which may also be referred to as a “profile”:

  • Low profile – low profile is wider in diameter and flatter in how far it projects from the chest
  • Moderate profile which provides the most usual combination of height and width
  • High and ultra profile – describing how far the implants make a patent’s breasts “stick out” in front.

Teardrop-shaped implants

Teardrop implants are sometimes also referred o as “anatomical” or “shaped” because they are narrower at the top and fuller at their base to better imitate the shape of a woman’s breast and ensure a more natural look with a full volume. Shaped implants may turn or flip in their pocket, and they usually have a textured outer shell to help counteract that.

Types of Breast Implants by Texture

Smooth implants

Smooth implants can move freely in their surgical pockets, and their shells are thinner. It is possible to insert them through smaller incisions, but there can also be problems with rippling in thinner patients.

Rough (textured) implants

Originally designed to prevent capsular contracture, the overlying tissue will grow towards this kind of implant and “grab” the textured surface to prevent it from moving around in its pocket.

Breast Implant Types by Size

Implant sizes range from 120 to 900 grams, providing a wide range of choices as well as necessitating the patient’s awareness of desired results. The deciding factor here is the patient’s desired, target breast size and their pre-surgery, natural breast size. In the simplest of terms, your natural size plus the size of the implant results in your post-surgery size.

If you are still unsure what is best for you amongst all the different types of breast implants, but you are responsibly considering surgery, book in for a consultation with Dr Konrat today, for a professional consultation.

*The information provided here is general in nature and you should always seek the advice of your medical professional.

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