Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water. Should the implant shell leak, a saline implant will collapse and the saline will be absorbed and naturally expelled by the body. They provide a uniform shape, firmness and feel. Saline implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women age 18 or older.
Silicone implants are filled with silicone gel. The gel feels a bit more like natural breast tissue. If the implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell, or may escape into the breast implant pocket. A leaking implant filled with silicone gel will not collapse. If you choose these implants, you may need to visit your plastic surgeon regularly to make sure the implants are functioning properly. An ultrasound or MRI screening can assess the condition of breast implants. Silicone implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women age 22 or older.
Form-stable implants are sometimes referred to as gummy bear implants because they maintain their shape even when the implant shell is broken. The consistency of the silicone gel inside the implant is thicker than traditional silicone gel implants. These implants are also firmer than traditional implants, but are thought to be less likely to break.
Form-stable implants are shaped rather than round. They have more projection at the bottom and are tapered towards the top. If a shaped implant rotates, it may lead to an unusual appearance of the breast. Placement of form-stable implant requires a longer incision in the skin.
Round implants have a tendency to make breasts appear fuller than form-stable implants. Higher profile options can achieve even more projection. Because round implants are the same shape all over, there is less concern about them rotating out of place.
Smooth breast implants are the softest feeling. These implants can move with the breast implant pocket, which may give more natural movement. These implants may have some palpable or visible rippling.
Textured breast implants develop scar tissue to stick to the implant, making them less likely to move around inside of the breast and get repositioned. Texturing offers some advantage in diminishing the risk of a tight scar capsule.
Fat grafting A fat transfer breast augmentation essentially uses liposuction to take fat from other parts of your body and inject it into your breasts. This is an option for women who are looking for a relatively small increase in breast size and would prefer natural results. Risks include cysts, infection, microcalcification, necrosis (death) of fat cells and the possibility that some of the transferred fat cells will leave the breast area. Your plastic surgeon may also have you use a tissue expansion system during the weeks before your surgery to improve your results. You may have to have touch-up injections to retain your improved shape if you choose this surgery.
Your plastic surgeon will take into account your wishes and concerns and will choose the right breast augmentation option for you.
Implant manufacturers occasionally introduce new styles and types of implants, so there may be additional options available. Whether you choose saline or silicone implants, it is important for you to monitor your breast implants and follow-up with your plastic surgeon for appropriate checkups.