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Are All Breast Implants Created Equal?

Are All Breast Implants Created Equal?


When you are considering breast implants, the broad range of choices can be truly baffling. With a wide array of materials, shapes, and sizes, it is difficult to know the right type of implant for you. It seems that everyone has a strong opinion about breast implants, and each person has certain implant preferences. However, while it always helpful to ask others for their opinions, breast implants are a highly personal matter. Ultimately, your choice should be determined by your personal preferences and the recommendations of your doctor.

Saline vs. Silicone

One of the biggest debates about breast implants is the question of saline and silicone gel implants. Doctors and patients typically prefer one type over the other, although both types are effective, safe, and FDA-approved. Again, your choice should come down to your aesthetic goals and your doctor's preference.

Both saline and silicone implants have silicone shells. However, saline implants are filled with a sterile salt water solution, while silicone implants are filled with a soft plastic gel. In the 1990s the FDA took silicone implants off the market because scientists feared that if they ruptured, they could pose serious health risks. Nevertheless, scientists continued to research the implants, and the FDA put them back on the market when they determined that they were actually quite safe. Today, saline implants continue to be a popular choice, but more and more doctors recommend silicone implants since they typically look and feel more natural.

Other Breast Implant Materials

With the continuing evolution of breast implant technology, other implant materials are growing in popularity. "Gummy-bear implants" are currently a hot topic among breast augmentation surgeons, thanks to their recent approval by the FDA. These high strength silicone implants retain their shape when cut in half, much like the candy from which they take their nickname. Proponents of the new implants say that they offer a more natural teardrop shape than any other implant on the market. However, scientists urge caution, reminding patients that further testing is needed to determine if there are any long term risks associated with these implants.

Other implant materials have been used at various times; however, the following implant materials are not currently approved by the FDA: soy oil, hydrogel, and polyeurethane covered silicone.

The Different Shapes of Breast Implants

Two different shapes are available for breast implants: round and tear-drop. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type. Round implants are symmetrical, so if they rotate after surgery, it will not make a difference to your appearance. Newer gummy bear implants are asymmetrical. They are sometimes called tear-drop implants because they are larger at the bottom than at the top. Because they are asymmetrical, if a tear-drop shaped implant rotates, you will need corrective surgery. Tear-drop implants were designed to give women a more natural look, but some patients may look better with round implants. Ultimately, the best look for you depends on your natural build.

Choosing Your Implant Size

Implants come in a variety of sizes, and there really is no "right" or "wrong" choice when it comes to the one you choose. The best size for you depends on your body type, cosmetic goals, and activity level. If you are petite, you would typically choose smaller implants, but if you have a larger frame, you might choose bigger implants. Of course, this is not always the case; you may want a completely natural look, or you may prefer a cosmetically enhanced look. If you have an extremely active lifestyle, doctors typically recommend smaller implants since large breasts may hinder your normal activity level.

Consult a Plastic Surgeon

Ultimately, breast implants are not created equal; what may be a great choice for another woman may not be the ideal option for you. The best way to determine the right implants for you is by consulting a local cosmetic surgeon. Together you can choose the implants that will give you the full, beautiful figure that you desire.

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