Modern breast implants are now a lot safer and more durable than they used to be. There have been many advances by the reputable implant manufacturers that allow a surgeon and patient a wide selection of implants to achieve a patient’s goals. Mr Gerard Lambe, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, discusses the types of implants that are available.
There are so many different shapes and sizes of implant now that it's no longer all about size
What is an implant made of?
All implants have an outer shell of silicone. This outer shell can be either smooth or textured. The texture can be either fine or coarse and is done to reduce the chance of a firm scar developing around the implant (capsular contracture). The inside of the implant is then most
commonly filled with another type of silicone also but it can
also be filled with saline (salt water).
What size is right for me?
There are so many different shapes and sizes of implant now that it’s no longer all about size. In the early days of breast augmentation the implants were all round in shape and the only difference was how wide and how big, but now we have access to many different shapes of implants to allow subtle changes in the end result that fit each patient best.
What are teardrop implants?
With the newer types of silicone filling it is now possible to manufacture implants that are shaped more like the natural breast, ie, more filling and projection in the lower part and more tapered in the upper part. This can create a more natural appearance in ladies who are very slim or have less breast tissue to cover the implant. These implants however tend to be a little more costly. For ladies who have a reasonable amount of their own breast tissue already they may achieve a good result using round implants. These have the advantage of being a little softer to touch and not having the problem of rotation.
What other differences are there in the implants?
Implants now come in a variety of heights, widths and projection. This allows the surgeon to pick just the right implant for you. The height can be used not just in taller patients but also to correct small amounts of droop in the breast. The projection refers to how much the implant ‘sticks out’. Width is adjusted depending on how wide your chest is and the position of your nipples.
Do I need them changed after 10 years?
No not if you do not have any problem with them. Reasons you may need a change would be sudden pain around the implant, change in shape or gradual hardening due to capsular contracture. Your breasts can also change with age and pregnancy and this may make further surgery necessary or desirable.