Breast augmentation can add volume to the breasts for more youthful and sensual contours, helping women attain a new confidence in their appearance. One of the first decisions you’ll make after you’ve chosen to receive a breast augmentation or a breast lift with augmentation is the type of implants that are best for your goals. Board-certified plastic surgeon Tiffany McCormack, MD offers a number of different types, shapes, and sizes of implants, and can even show you how they may ultimately look with state-of-the-art Portrait 3D imaging. Options available at our practice can give you the best possible results that look both natural and beautiful.

What are the different options available for breast implants?

There are only two major types of breast implants – saline and silicone; however, each type of implant come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Everything depends on your own individual goals, and what may be best for your unique body type. Adding volume to the breasts is as much about improving the proportions of your breasts as it is about making them larger. At your initial consultation, Dr. McCormack will show you an array of breast implant options – silicone and saline varieties; round and tear-drop shaped implants; and a range of sizes. Plus, she can input your medical data and the breast implant options you are considering into the VECTRA breast imaging computer system that will create a 3D digital model of the potential results. This image can be modified based on your choices. While no technology can claim a 100% accuracy rate in predicting the future, this imaging program can give you a general idea of the potential results.

Breast implants also come in different profile ranges: low, moderate, and high. High profile breast implants typically offer the most forward projection, and are often beneficial for women with a narrower chest. Dr. McCormack will talk with you about all of your options, take your specific measurements, and answer all of your questions so that you make the best choice for your needs.

What are the differences between silicone and saline breast implants?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions about breast implants, and it’s a very important one. Here is some basic information on the composition of each type of implant:

Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone breast implants are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for breast augmentation procedures in women aged 22 and over, and for breast reconstruction patients of any age. They are composed of a silicone outer shell encasing a thick silicone gel. Silicone implants are known for their natural appearance and feel, and are typically less prone to rippling. These options can be beneficial for many women, particularly those who have very thin body frames.

Form-Stable Silicone Breast Implants

Form-stable breast implants, also referred to as shaped or gummy bear implants, are the most recent implant options to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States. Composed of cohesive silicone gel, these newly-approved implants are designed in a teardrop shape (thicker at the bottom and tapered towards the top) that can often provide a more natural-looking aesthetic for the appropriate candidate as a result of their close resemblance to the actual shape of a breast.

Form-stable implants are also typically firmer than round implants due to their thicker consistency and additional crosslinking properties within the silicone gel, both of which combine to help the implants better retain their shape. Additionally, studies conducted on patients with form-stable implants have revealed a reduced occurrence of rippling and folding as well as a diminished risk for implant rupture that can be attributed to the strong cohesion of the gel.

Saline Breast Implants

Saline breast implants are the most common type of implant and are approved for use in patients aged 18 and over. They are made of a silicone outer shell filled with saline, or salt-water, solution. These implants have proven very effective for millions of patients through the years, and the results can look very natural and beautiful.

IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Saline Breast Implants

The IDEAL IMPLANT® is the first new saline breast implant to be approved by the FDA in over two decades. Composed of a saline (saltwater) solution, this innovative implant option is uniquely designed with an inner and outer shell that house separate compartments of saline filler. Located between these inner and outer shells are one to three “baffle” shells intended to help control/limit the movement of the saline solution, ultimately creating an exceptionally natural look and feel.

In addition to its remarkable resemblance to a natural breast, another key benefit of the IDEAL IMPLANT® is the peace of mind it can provide patients by knowing whether or not their implants are intact. In contrast to silicone implants that require regular MRI screenings to detect ruptures, IDEAL IMPLANT® will noticeably deflate in the rare event of a leak or break, and the saline will be absorbed harmlessly by the body. With its advanced design and excellent results, this implant option has truly revolutionized the saline breast implant market.

Both silicone and saline breast implants have advantages and disadvantages over the other. During your initial consultation, Dr. McCormack will discuss the differences in further detail and help you decide which option may be the best for your goals.

If you would like more information on the available types, shapes, and sizes of breast implants, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your goals, please contact McCormack Plastic Surgery today.