A breast implant is a medical-grade, small sac comprising an elastomer shell and a filling valve that self-seals. The valve could be located either on the back or front of the implant. Breast implants are usually filled with a sterile saline solution or silicone gel. Most implants get filled post-surgery. However, there are some that come pre-filled. This filling helps blow up an implant to the shape or size desired. Compared to silicone implants, saline implants are a lot more common, thanks to the FDA banning silicone breast implant usage in 1992 in America. However, silicone implants are not completely phased out and they could be used in certain scenarios.
Shapes and Sizes
A breast implant comes in different sizes and shapes. There are three standard sizes. The implant size used depends on the patient’s preferred outcome. The physical frame of the woman also determines implant size. Choosing an implant that’s a bit on the larger side could lead to surgical complications or cause the implant to become visible from within the skin post-surgery.
Size isn’t the only aspect of breast implants. For the most natural-looking and safest outcomes, breast implants usually pack in certain features. The shape is one of them. There are basically two shapes: contoured and round. Round implants are extremely common. They are also most preferred by patients since they offer the highest amount of fullness, lift, and cleavage. However, round implants may look fake (particularly if the shape is a bit on the larger side), which is why some women choose the contoured implant route.
Contoured implants are more “tear-drop” in shape which mimics the breasts’ anatomical shape. Originally, contoured implants were used for breast reconstruction purposes. However, over a period, they also made their way into breast augmentation and other breast surgery procedures. The ideal shape is usually ascertained with inputs from both the patient and surgeon. The variables usually considered are the available tissue there is to work with, patient anatomy, and exact placement of the implant within the breast. Placement location in the breast usually has a major say in the final size and shape of the implant chosen for the procedure.
After surgery, scar tissue is formed bordering the implant. This denotes the body’s natural reaction or protection mechanism that kicks in when a foreign object is introduced. This phenomenon is referred to as capsular contracture. In certain extreme scenarios, this scar capsule would lead to breast hardening, which could be painful and need additional surgery. Textured implants were introduced to decrease capsular contracture chances. These implants’ textured surfaces help the scar tissue conform to the implant, bringing down the scar tissue level if all goes well.
Textured implants do not move freely inside the breast. Smooth or traditional breast implants move a lot more freely within the capsule. This level of freedom could cause natural movements inside the breast. However, based on implant placement, it could at times create rippling. There are multiple variables affecting rippling. The surgeon usually decides implant texture based on the patient’s anatomy.
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