When you are deciding whether or not to get breast implants, the material you choose matters. Gone are the days of simply going with silicone, although it still remains an option today. Women now have choices, and your doctor needs to relay the good and the bad of each one so you can make an informed decision. Here are the pros and cons of using saline, silicone and fat transfer for breast augmentation.
Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone implants are pouches filled with silicone gel that get placed inside the body. This was the first successful method of implant surgery, and it dates back to 1962. Although silicone is a synthetic material, it closely mimics the consistency of the fatty tissue found in women's breasts. For this reason, silicone implants are still popular. However, if a silicone implant ruptures, it can cause breast pain and temporary deformation, and surgery will be required to implant a new one.
Clinical studies of silicone implants were never performed on women under 22 years of age. Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration requires that women be at least that old in order to receive them.
Saline Breast Implants
To create saline implants, sterile salt water is inserted into silicone casings after they're placed inside the body. Saline implants have not been around as long as silicone implants, but they are popular because they pose less of a risk if they leak. Should a saline implant rupture within the body, it will deflate, but the solution will not cause any complications or issues as it spreads into the body. However, surgery will be needed to replace the deflated implant.
Many women report that saline implants do not resemble breast tissue as well as silicone implants do, but they do not have the same FDA restriction — a woman only needs to be 18 years of age to receive saline implants. Also, because saline implants are empty when inserted into the body and then filled, it is easier to adjust their size.
Fat Transfer for Breast Enlargement
Transferring fat for breast implants often involves liposuction. Fat is removed from a fleshy area, such as the stomach, and then placed into the breast region. One big upside to breast augmentation via fat transfer is that it's natural. It does not include inserting foreign material into the body — it only relocates substance that already exists. Since moving fat from one location to another results in reduced fat elsewhere, many clients feel this is an added bonus.
This approach can really only be used on smaller implants, however, so it limits the number of women who choose it. If a patient wants a larger implant, you may need to expand tissue before inserting it. This is more invasive and can cause more discomfort and leave greater opportunity for infection.
The Bottom Line
There are risks associated with breast implant surgery that extend to all types, and it's a good idea to be aware of what they are regardless of which implants you choose. Make sure you know about the risk of infection, breast pain and scarring that can accompany any surgery.
In terms of which material you choose, every woman is different and will use different criteria to make your selection. It's critical that you have the ability to pick the option you thinks will work best for you, so get the information you need to make the best decision.
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