A Breast Implant Cheat Sheet

Making the choice to get breast implants is an important first step, but it’s far from the only choice you’ll have to make on your breast-augmentation journey. While choosing your new look can be fun and exciting, it can also be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you don’t know the key differences between each type of implant available. If you are considering breast implants or are ready to make this exciting change, don’t get overwhelmed by your options. Here’s a basic guide to the main differences between each type of implant – and the pros and cons of each.

Silicone Implants

Silicone breast implants are by far the most popular type of implant on the market today. They are filled with silicone gel and feel more like natural breasts and maintain their shape better than saline implants. Because of the silicone, these implants tend to be a bit more expensive than saline implants.

One issue to consider with silicone implants is that, if one ruptures, it could take up to a year before the implant is completely empty. The good news is if you know you have a leak, you will have time before you have a noticeable change in breast size to replace the implant. However, if you don’t know you have a leak, you could experience breast pain. Thankfully there are no long-term health risks associated with ruptured silicone implants.

Saline Implants

Saline implants are filled with sterile saline solution, or saltwater. Saline implants are implanted into the breast empty and then filled once they are in place. Saline implants are generally less expensive than silicone. Another benefit to saline is that if the implant ruptures, the solution is not harmful to the body and will be easily absorbed. However, if a rupture occurs, the implant will drain immediately and noticeably.

Cohesive Gel / Form Stable or “Gummy Bear” Implants

Cohesive gel implants earned the nickname “gummy bears” because they have a feel similar to that of the popular chewy candy. Gummy bears are the newest implants to hit the United States market, but they are growing in popularity. Made of highly cohesive gel silicone and encased in a thick, layered silicone outer shell, gummy bear implants are firmer than silicone and saline implants and can hold their shape much better. They are also less likely to fold, ripple and leak, and may even reduce the risk of a serious condition called capsular contracture, which occurs when the scar tissue forms a tight capsule around the implant.

The cons to gummy bears are that they require a larger incision, and thus a bigger scar. They are also more expensive, they could move, and their textured outside has been associated with a slight risk of a very rare form of breast cancer.

Once you’ve considered the different types of implants, you’ll want to think about the shape you want. There are two general shapes, with many variations within the same category. The main shapes are round and teardrop.

Round Implants

Round implants are the most common and popular shape. They are also the most affordable. Round implants are recommended for patients looking for an overall fuller-looking breast, especially at the top of the breast.

Teardrop Implants

Teardrop implants tend to more closely resemble a natural-shaped breast, with a tapered top and the majority of the fullness of the implant at the bottom. Teardrop implants tend to be more expensive than round implants but are a wonderful option for patients looking for a more natural look.

Implant Size

Implants can be customized to the exact size you want, based on your own unique needs and the shape of your body. Because there are so many options, Dr. Chau will help you choose a size, shape, implant positioning and material that fits with your lifestyle and the look you’re trying to achieve.