What are the types of breast implants?

Breast implants are devices designed to augment the size of a woman's breasts. The different types of breast implants include saline, silicone, round, textured, gummy bear and smooth.
Breast implants are devices designed to augment the size of a woman's breasts. The different types of breast implants include saline, silicone, round, textured, gummy bear and smooth.

Breast implants are U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved devices that are fitted into your breasts to enhance the look, shape and feel of your breasts. Apart from fat transfer to the breast, they are used by hundreds of women each year for breast augmentation and breast reconstruction procedures.

There are two basic types of breast implants. What type is suitable for you depends upon your age, the type of look you desire, the cost of implants, the reason for getting the implants (such as post cancer surgery) and the maintenance required for the implants.

  • Saline breast implants: Saline breast implants are filled with saline water. They offer a firm feel to the breast. If they leak, they collapse. The saline water comes out of them which then gets absorbed by the body. The FDA approves saline breast implants for use in women who are 18 years old and older. Structured saline breast implants are a type of saline breast implants that contain an inner structure to make the implants feel more natural.
  • Silicone breast implants: Silicone breast implants have silicone gel in them. In terms of consistency, they feel like fat. Most women feel that these implants give them a natural feel of the breast tissue. The silicone breast implants do not collapse if they leak, but carry risks if they rupture. Hence, you should regularly follow-up with your doctor to check the functioning of the implants. You may need to undergo tests such as a mammogram or ultrasonography (USG) of the breasts.
  • Gummy bear breast implants: Gummy bear implants, also known as form-based implants, are a type of silicone breast implants. They contain more silicone gel than traditional silicone implants.
  • Round breast implants: Round breast implants are more likely to make the breasts appear fuller than form-stable implants (implants that maintain their shape or form on being cut because they contain thicker silicone gel). After deciding to go for any of the above implants, you will also have to look for the type of outer shell you want the implant to be in.
  • Smooth breast implants: Smooth breast implants have an outer silicone rubber shell that is very smooth and soft. Because they do not attach to the surrounding breast tissue, they are usually freely moveable.
  • Textured breast implants: Textured breast implants have an outer silicone rubber shell with a rough and irregular surface. Because of their attachment to the tissue capsule around them, they are less likely to move.

How do you choose a breast implant size?

A breast implant is measured in terms of its volume in cubic centimeters. Selecting the size of a breast implant based on your bra cup size is an inaccurate way. Ask your doctor how you can see for yourself which one you would like.

Implants come in varying profiles of the same volume, which changes the shape of the implant. Your doctor will take measurements of your breasts during the consultation. They will explain to you about the different sizes or volumes and ask you the type of breast look you desire. They will inform you of the benefits and risks of the different fillers, styles, shapes and surfaces of the implants. You will work together with the doctor while they choose the best one for you. The good news is that the outcomes for most women who get implants are good to excellent.

How much does breast implant surgery cost?

As per the 2019 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of breast implant surgery is $3,947. This average cost does not include the cost of anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses (lab work). Overall expenses can be anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000. They vary as per the type of implant, location of the hospital and experience of the plastic surgeon. In costlier locations such as San Francisco, overall expenses can reach up to $12,000. Please consult your plastic surgeon's office to determine the total cost.

Saline implants are cheaper than silicone implants. Their prices can differ by $300 to $1,000. Silicone implants also have higher maintenance costs.

Read your insurance policy carefully. Because breast implant surgery is a cosmetic procedure, your insurance most likely will not cover it. Many plastic surgeons offer financing options for breast implants, so ask your doctor’s office about that.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/24/2021
References
Medscape Medical Reference

American Society of Plastic Surgeons