Choosing the best type of breast implants when considering Breast Augmentation

Michael Weinberg, MD

Article by
Toronto Plastic Surgeon

How does one decide which kind of breast implants are best when considering Breast Augmentation?

The answer to that question is complex. First, one has to appreciate that the choice of implant is related to the choice of surgical technique. As a general rule , breast implants have a more natural look and feel when placed above the chest wall muscle, rather than below it. Placing the implant above the muscle is also a less major surgery with an easier and more comfortable recovery. For women with breast ptosis (hanging breasts) , placing an implant above the muscle can also give the impression of lifting the nipple. If one is going to place an implant above the muscle, a Gel Cohesive implant should be the first choice, as it is more likely to give a natural appearance as it is less likely to wrinkle. Gel Cohesive implants also have other advantages. The consistency of silicone gel is closer to the texture of human fat so they feel more natural, and one can choose the shape of the implant, for eg. tear drop, as opposed to saline implants which are all round.

Despite all this, there is still a role for saline implants. One has to remember that for most small breasted, thin women, despite the desirability of above the muscle placement, it may not be possible to go above the muscle as there may not be enough soft tissue to cover the implant. If one must therefore go below the muscle, the advantages of Gel Cohesives becomes less critical. Wrinkling and texture become less of an issue, and saline implants are more affordable. Furthermore, saline implants can be placed with a smaller incision. Lastly, leakage of a saline implant is obvious as it causes deflation, whereas leakage of a Gel Cohesive implant can be hard to detect and may even require MRI scanning. For some people this raises safety concerns as they have fears about the effects of free silicone in their tissues, despite the fact that no scientific studies have demonstrated any adverse health effects from silicone.

The good news is, with choices available in type of implant,surgical technique, as well as incision type, breast augmentation surgery can be customized to meet the goals and budget of each patient. The best way to decide what type of implant would best suit your needs is to come in for an in depth consultation with your plastic surgeon.