Breast Implants in the News
It seems the breast implant debate will continue on with the start of the trial for the French manufacturer of breast implants Poly Implant Prothese (PIP). Until recently it could be argued that plastic surgeons were shying away from offering patients silicone breast implants. That was partly due to federal medical restrictions at the time and partly due to risk aversion from potentially suggesting an unsafe implant. Within the last three years these restrictions have been eased and patients can explore silicone once again. But what changed?
Selection of Implants
The choice between the two types of implants is nearly always made by the patient. Board-certified plastic surgeons offer guidance about similarities and differences between implant types, break down the procedure, the best technique for your individual situation and any potential risks. But in the end, the patient will be making the decision about which implant will fit their needs. There are limitations, of course if a patient wants a certain incision site and may limit the type of implant that can be used in the procedure. For an areolar incision site, most silicone implants would not fit and thus are not an acceptable choice. It’s possible that a small silicone implant may fit a woman who has a large areola, but this is not a standard scenario.
One of the most popular benefits of silicone over saline is the natural feel and look they give to the patient after surgery. For this reason, you might not be surprised to learn that a large percent of breast augmentation patients opt for silicone over saline. Aesthetics aside, silicone breast implants weigh less than their saline counterparts, and as such there is less chance of stretching the scar tissue from a silicone implant. Silicone can help minimizing breast “drooping” as time passes after the breast augmentation procedure.
Another important decision needs to be made regarding the size and shape of the implant itself. These details will play an important role in how natural a breast augmentation may look after the procedure. Since there are many different body types and body shapes, so too must there be variations of breast implants to help a body contour look natural. The board-certified staff at South Bay Plastic Surgeons offer advice for Los Angeles patients interested in breast augmentation:
Another important decision is implant size and shape. Standard round implants are dome-shaped. They provide the upper breast fullness that has become popular in magazines and on television. Anatomical implants, on the other hand, are somewhat tear-shaped and provide a more natural appearance. With anatomical implants, patients can augment and enhance their breasts, and look like they never had surgery.
Not to say that saline implants don’t have any benefits. Saline implants are very safe, and even if the implant leaks or completely ruptures (though the deflated chest look may not be considered flattering. Saline implants are also significantly less expensive than the silicone implants currently available. Spread over the life of the breast implants, the difference is about $2 a week, but when paid up-front, it can make a significant financial difference for the checkbook.
“Gummy Bear” Implants
The latest iteration of silicone implants are has recently been referred to as the “gummy bear” implant. The name is fun, and paints a delicious picture in our mind; the actual context of term is interesting too. Gummy bear implants are a new type of “cohesive” gel implants. Designed for increased safety, basically it means that should the implant somehow rupture, the silicone gel still remains within the outer skin of the implant. Each silicone gel molecule binds to the next silicone gel molecule and will not leak outside the implant. The implants come in several different consistencies , the firmest and most cohesive implants being referred to as “gummy bear” implants due to the implants’ texture resembling that of the tasty candy namesake.
The medical professionals that design and install these implants are constantly trying to innovate ways to increase the safety of their patients. Remaining on the cutting edge can make a huge difference in patient satisfaction level, and that’s a goal to take seriously– to provide the best possible care using the best possible techniques and supplies.