Plastic surgery has been around since as early as the 8th century B.C.E. And technology has, of course, only flourished since, with plastic surgery along with it: the possibilities are becoming increasingly endless, with various options becoming less and less invasive. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), cosmetic procedures are on the rise, and breast augmentation was one of the top five most popular procedures people in the U.S. were having done.
The ASPS lists seven types of breast implants:
- Saline implants are FDA approved for individuals 18 and over and contain sterile salt water, providing a homogenous firmness, shape, and feel. If the implant shell leaks, the entire implant will collapse, allowing the body to absorb and later expel the saline inside it through natural means.
- Structured saline implants are similar to the above, but also contain an inner structure that seeks to create a more organic feel.
- Silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel that feels slightly more natural than saline implants. In the event that the implant leaks, the gel could stay in the implant shell, or leak into the implant pocket–if the former occurs, the implant won’t collapse. Should you decide to go with silicone implants, you may need to do regular check-ins with your plastic surgeon to make sure all is well, which may also require MRIs or ultrasounds. This type of implant is FDA-approved for individuals 22 and over.
- “Gummy bear” implants, aka form-stable implants, are thicker and firmer than traditional silicone gel implants, and maintain their shape even if the implant shell is punctured. Gummy bear implants can be shaped; if they rotate, a patient may require a separate surgery to correct the altered appearance that would result from this phenomenon. The procedure to place these implants requires a slightly longer skin incision.
- Smooth implants feel the softest and move quite naturally, but could manifest in rippling below the skin.
- Textured implants have a lower chance of scarring, and grow scar tissue that sticks to the implants, which makes them less prone to repositioning.
- Round implants generally make breasts look fuller than gummy bear implants, and have a uniform shape. Because of this, doctors and patients alike are less worried about the implant looking strange in the event that it rotates.
It’s important to discuss what type of implant is best for you with your plastic surgeon, and to keep up regular follow up appointments to make sure your body is tolerating them well.