Is it common for doctors to "overfill" breast implants?
Doctor Answers 16
Overfilling breast implants
You actually raise two really good questions:
The first is, "Is it a good idea to overfill implants?" I'm assuming you mean saline implants because those are the only ones that are filled on the table.
The idea behind overfilling saline is to decrease rippling and possibly extend the life of the implant. It works. But not particularly well and at a cost. Overfilling the implant will somewhat reduce rippling - though not completely - unless you overfill by an absurd amount. Not a good idea because even some overfill will make your breast feel harder than you may want.
If you're really concerned with rippling, you should strongly consider using silicone gel implants instead of saline. That's the single best move you can make. If you're dead set on saline, there are several things you can do that will be better than overfilling:
1. Use a smooth implant. Smooth ripples less than textured.
2. Put the implant under the muscle. More padding = less rippling.
3. Put in an implant that fits your breast. This is the critical one! Overly large implants will push outward on your breasts day after day after day. They will eventually thin your breast tissue and more rippling will show. Most really bad rippling happens in women with huge implants.
Your second question is, "How do I avoid ending up with breasts that are too big?" (I paraphrased a little.) This one isn't likely to happen from your surgeon overfilling the implants. But it can happen if your surgeon puts in the wrong size implants. This problem originates in the consultation, not in the O.R. You need to find a plastic surgeon with whom you can communicate well. He needs to listen and hear exactly what it is you want. He also needs an effective method to ensure that both of you go to surgery with the same image of what your breasts are to look like. Discussing cup sizes does not work for this purpose. Putting implants in your bra does not work. The best systems use photographic review and/or imaging software. Whichever system your plastic surgeon uses, you both need to be be on the same page going into surgery. If you are not, you're not likely to get the breasts you want.
It’s common but you may not notice the difference.
Choosing implant size
Hello and thanks for posting your question on RealSelf.
Choosing implant size is unique to each patient and a lot more attention has been paid to it in the past 5-7 years. With silicone implants the size that we discuss at the consultation will not change in the operating room-because the implant is prefilled. With saline implants, the surgeon fills the implant in the operating room, thus the discussion changes to a range of volume that the chosen implant will hold, ex 325-345cc. Overfilling beyond the manufacturers guidelines is not advisable.
You should choose a reputable plastic surgeon whom you trust and feel that you communicate well with. Open discussions and asking these questions of your surgeon will ultimately lead to a better result.
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Saline Breast Implants
Selection of breast implant sizes.
The other and bigger issue is when too large an implant for the available tissue, skin and breast distensability is placed. This should be avoided by the doctor and patient agreeing on an approximate breast size and contour recognizing that the best method for implant selection is by the surgeon choosing based on actually visualizing the size and contour during the surgery using a test implant or sizer. Most surgeons can approximate very accurately about 90 percent of the time however despite measurements and experience about 10% of the time a slightly larger or smaller implant proves to be idea. There should not however be any giant surprises as you suggest. You'll learn some more from the video above. Please review it.
Be sure that you are confident and trust your plastic surgeon to achieve as close to your goal as possible or find a different doctor.
Good luck and enjoy your results.
Jon A Perlman MD FACS
Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery
Extreme Makeover Surgeon ABC TV
Best of Los Angeles Award 2015, 2016
Beverly Hills, Ca
Filling volumes for saline implants should be discussed before your operation.
Glad to hear that you are reading in preparation for your enlargement surgery. Plastic surgeons may approach breast volume selection for their patients in a number of ways. We have our patients estimate their new breast volumes with sizer implants in bras. Size is limited by tissue, social, and measurement factors.
When we use saline implants, the filled end volume is the volume selected by the patient. This can be altered somewhat to create symmetry in the operating room. Therefore, the actual implant size used would be less than your target volume. It then is over-filled up to your selected volume. It is rare to require volumes above what our patients select in the office. Overfilling may reduce rippling with saline implants.
Hope this answers your question.
Are Breast Implants Overfilled?
Thank you for your question. Both saline and silicone implants are FDA approved for Breast Augmentation. Both achieve excellent results. Silicone are pre filled and therefore have a set/fixed volume. Saline implants need to be filled at the time of surgery. Commonly, the implants are filled to the upper range of manufacturer suggestion which is termed "overfill". This typically amounts to about 1 tablespoon of saline. We may say 30CC, but that equals one tablespoon which is not a lot. It is important to discuss your goals with your PS making it unlikely that your expectations will not be met. Good Luck,
Beverly Friedlander, MD
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.