Breast augmentation remains the most popular plastic surgery procedure in the world, and for great reason. Over the decades, both implant technology and surgical skill have improved to create the most natural results ever – all with a shortened (enhanced) recovery.
Part of the success of breast augmentation comes from the variety of implant options available to patients. The modern array of implants is how surgeons are able to craft such personalized and natural results, but the selection process is a bit more cumbersome. Many would-be patients become overwhelmed by the options, a situation board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Restifo quells by boiling it down to 3 important factors in choosing an implant.
“I like to break it down into 3 choices to make,” he shares. “3 things that actually make a difference.” Below, Dr. Restifo shares his 3 factors breast augmentation patients need to consider to get the best results.
Factor 1: Saline or Silicone
The first decision seems the most obvious perhaps, but it is as important as ever in modern breast augmentation: choosing saline vs. silicone. For the uninitiated, saline implants are filled with a saline solution – basically water – and behave as such. These were the original implants, until the advent of silicone implants, an implant with generally the same shell material but filled with a silicone gel instead of a saline solution.
Decades ago, the initial reputation of silicone gel implants was sidelined due to safety concerns. Since, they have underwent the most scientific testing of any medical device – the results show that silicone gel is entirely safe to use in the body. Silicone implants are known to feel and look more natural than saline, but that doesn’t mean saline is old tech.
Experienced breast surgeons like Dr. Restifo know that every patient is a unique case with unique characteristics. These physical characteristics may actually help make the decision for you.
“It is an underappreciated fact that in a woman with a lot of breast tissue, a saline implant can give a spectacular and natural result,” shares Dr. Restifo, detailing one scenario where the “old” saline implants may actually achieve the best result.
“On the other hand, in a woman with minimal breast tissue and low body fat, they may have a more natural look and feel with one of the silicone implant options.”
Factor 2: Profile
Once the implant type is chosen, it’s time to move onto the profile, or projection, of an implant. This variable describes how much an implant protrudes from the chest. And while profile may seem related to size, there is a difference, and the choice will, again, depend upon a patient’s individual anatomy.
“The choice of profile depends upon measurements of the chest, as well as a woman’s anatomy and the specific look she is striving for,” shares Restifo. For each of his decisions, they will depend not just on what a patient wants, but how the patient has been measured. Combining the two is how great results are achieved.
Factor 3: Size
Finally, it’s time to talk about size. Once implant type and the desired profile have been selected, a patient can move onto Dr. Restifo’s third major factor: size. For this decision, modern technology has made the selection process much, much easier than it was in the past.
“Fortunately, this has become much easier with the advent of 3D imaging,” shares Restifo. “We basically take a picture of the woman’s chest and the computer will show her what she’s going to look like with any size of implant she’s curious about.”
This is correct: 3D imaging technology can show a patient almost exactly what she might look like with certain implants. For many, this has been a game-changer in the breast augmentation consultation.
Of Utmost Importance: Trust Your Surgeon
Dr. Restifo speaks of his 3 factors with the understanding that he is an excellent breast surgeon with decades of experience. This isn’t always the case with a surgeon. The first and most important decision any would-be patient will make is surgeon selection. They should look for:
- Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
- Significant breast surgery expertise: augmentation, breast lift, revision, etc.
- A solid amount of before and afters, whether viewed online or on a secured network during consultation in their office
Dr. Restifo’s 3 factors are the way towards a great augmentation, but do verify the excellence of your surgeon first.