No matter what you’re choosing, it’s great to have as many options as possible. That’s especially true if and when you’re thinking about getting your breasts augmented. And while it’s been at the top of the list of plastic surgery operations for generations, at no time have women had more options than today.
by John Hammarley
and Camille Cash, MD
An Exciting Time
“Last year alone, more than 300,000 breast augmentations were done in the United States,” says Dr. Camille Cash, a Houston-based board certified plastic surgeon. “It’s a very exciting time to be a plastic surgeon because we have a lot of different tools and a lot of different options.”
“From the mid-1960s until now, we’ve had an explosion of types of breast implants to choose from,” Cash says. “We’re not just dealing with one type of implant, or just one choice. We have round ones, shaped implants, saline implants, gel implants.”
You Name It, You Can Probably Have It
One question is, why do we need so many different types of implants? What are these new designs providing that implants of 5-10 years ago couldn’t?
“We need all these different options because we have so many different types of patients and so many different tastes and needs and different patient presentations when it comes to this surgery,” Cash observes. “But basically, there are two main types. There’s a round implant and there’s a tear drop or anatomic style of implant.”
For women seeking a fuller, more youthful look, a round implant is probably the type most likely to appeal. For the woman looking for a more natural, less obvious augmentation, the tear drop approach is going to be the approach that gives her the look that she desires.
“Just because a lot of women are considering getting their breasts augmented doesn’t mean they are all going after the same look,” explains Cash. “That’s why all of the newer generation of implants, with all their variations, are a boon for surgeons and their patients.”
Saline Vs. Silicone
Most board certified plastic surgeons, including Dr. Cash, say the vast majority of augmentation patients today choose silicone implants, but there still are a patients who want saline.
“The good news about saline implants is it can provide a very natural look, if they are inflated correctly,” she explains. “Saline implants can also be less expensive and they can be placed through much smaller incisions. The downside is they often can feel, well, like bag of water. Also of note, for those patients who are very concerned about breast cancer surveillance, since saline implants are translucent and when mammography is used, examiners can see right through the saline implants to see the breast tissue on the other side.
Dr. Cash adds that silicone implants pose no problems when it comes to obtaining accurate mammography results, but says a small percentage of women still want as natural an implant as possible. In terms of shear numbers, there’s no comparison what today’s woman most often asks for. “More than 95 percent of my patients ask for silicone gel implants,” Cash adds.
Whether the selection is round, shaped, silicone, or saline, the beauty of modern breast augmentation is in the options. Instead of a one-implant-works-for-all approach, Dr. Cash can create the perfect augmentation based on her patients unique anatomy and desires.