If you’re a woman interested in breast augmentation, there has never been a better time for the procedure. Advanced surgical techniques, decades of experience, and a plethora of modern implants create an environment where augmentations are more tailored to the individual patient. It’s even more important for a woman to have a detailed consultation with her surgeon to make sure the chosen implants are in her best interests. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Mark D. Epstein gives his thoughts on how to make the right choice when it comes to breast implants.
Decision #1: Implant Type
While many things have changed, there are still two basic options for breast implants: silicone and saline. Decades after the uproar over the safety of silicone breast implants, there exists overwhelming scientific data to prove they are in fact just as safe. Due to this, their popularity only continues to grow. Their counterpart, saline implants, while seemingly archaic, are still quite useful in the right case, but are hardly ever requested.
“One of the most important elements that I have to talk with breast augmentation patients about is what type of breast implant to use,” shares Dr. Epstein. “Saline or silicone. It’s pretty much a no-brainer: everyone wants silicone. I haven’t had someone say they want saline in years.
Decision #2: Implant Shape
A major advance in implant technology over the last 15 years is the shaped implant. While before both silicone and saline were round, symmetrical implants, shaped implants have been developed that hold their shape.
“With regard to the shape, the teardrop in my opinion gives a more natural shape,” says Epstein. “That said, the more tissue that a woman has naturally to cover the implant, the less you’re going to see the difference between a round and a teardrop shaped implant. So if a woman has a small breast with regular breast tissue you’re going to see the difference. On the other hand, if I put a teardrop implant in one breast and a rounded implant in the other, you’d see that difference. If they had more breast tissue like a full B or a small C, you’re going to have a harder time seeing the difference.”
Decision #3: Softness
The most recent and exciting of advancements for silicone implants is differing cohesivity. In essence, this translates to how “soft” or “hard” and implant may feel. The silicone gel inside of certain implants can be of differing firmness, allowing even more complexity that surgeons can use to greatly further individualize the procedure to each unique patient. Dr. Epstein says the various new types of implants are giving women so much more to choose from than they did less than five years ago.
“When we’re talking about the type or gel, we now have a lot more options than we did just a few years ago,” he explains. “We have the Inspira Responsive, which is a very soft implant. And the softer the implant, the less control of shape. So this is an implant for the patient who absolutely wants as soft as implant as possible, not as concerned about the shape, but really wants softness.”
Epstein says some of the newest implant models are providing some of the best implants for accomplishing almost everything women are looking for in surgery. Instead of having a one-size fits all option, there are many different ones to choose from. While this may seem daunting, other technical breakthroughs like 3D imaging have made consultations a place where patients can visually see how different implants may look on their frame.
With the abundance of burgeoning technologies, it’s true that there has never been a better time to have a breast procedure. One thing that has and never will change is the importance of finding an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon who will guide you through every step. The hard decisions are made in the patient room in a 1 on 1 with the surgeon. Once that step is complete, an efficient surgery with little downtime is the final steps to achieving patient goals.