Which breast implant is best?

11 September 2015

By Plastic Surgeon Dr Dirk Kremer

Breast implant picture by FDA via Wikimedia commons A breast augmentation procedure, or boob job as it's usually called, is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures on the market today. Over 8,600 women in the UK underwent breast augmentation in 2014, with most women having the surgery to improve their image following major weight loss, pregnancy or simply because of their age.

It's a common myth that all breast enhancements are the same, but this view is seriously out-of-date; women today have a wide selection of choices when it comes to deciding on which breast implant is best for them. In today's cosmetic industry, breast implants come in a wide variety of styles and shapes, and below, I'll be discussing the pros and cons of each style and shape to ensure you are able to accurately make a decision on which one is best for you.

Types of breast implants

There are currently two types of breast implants available on the market: silicone gel-filled and saline-filled breast implants. Both have their distinctive advantages and disadvantages, and which one you choose will depend heavily on what you want out of them.

Adhesive silicone gel implants – the new 'gummy bear implants'

There is a wide selection of silicone implants on the market today, but adhesive silicone gel implants, also known as ‘gummy bear’ implants, are gel-filled implants that feel similar to normal breasts and have a range of additional benefits. One of the biggest advantages of gummy bear implants is that they maintain their shape much better over a long period of time when compared to other silicone and saline implants. Over time, breast implants fall victim to the effects of gravity and gradually start to droop. Gummy bear inserts, however, have a distinctive shape that isn't as susceptible to the effects of gravity – don’t worry, the shape isn’t actually that of a gummy bear!

This distinctive shape also means gummy bear implants are less likely to fold or rip, as the filling is far more secure and doesn't move around as easily or as often. The adhesive silicone gel implant boasts a very tight molecular bind which makes it highly unlikely its shell will collapse or fold. The mostly solid gel substance also means that if the breast implant does rupture, women won’t have to worry about leakage as the gel substance is made so it stays put.

Unfortunately, gummy bear implants are relatively new, so there isn't enough conclusive data available to accurately measure their long-term success. What’s more, while most silicone breast implants manufacturers offer them in three different strengths of cohesion, the gummy bear implants are firmer than these, requiring larger incisions. This means that the incisions are placed at the bottom of the breasts, resulting in some subtle yet visible scar tissue (although a good surgeon will make incisions so as to reduce scarring, and with time scars will fade).

Saline breast implants

Silicone isn't the only substance used in breast implants, saline is another popular option, and, like silicone, it has its strengths and weaknesses. Saline implants are inserted first and are then filled with salt water, giving patients greater control over the size of their implants. The use of salt water is one of the main reasons why many women choose saline, because, if the implant breaks, the water will simply be absorbed by the body and leave no lasting effects. Saline implants are noticeably smaller than ones made of silicone, but this means they require smaller incisions and can be inserted in less visible locations, such as under the arm.

There is only one noticeable drawback to saline implants, and that is they do tend to look and feel less natural than silicone implants. They typically leave a patient’s breasts looking rounder in shape and are much firmer than silicone.

Teardrop or round breast implants?

After you've decided on silicone or saline, the next decision to make is what shape you want for your breast implants; typically, women choose either round or teardrop shaped implants. Round implants are the most common ones as they provide excellent lift and fullness, and because they’re round, they’re also symmetrical. Even though implant rotation is not an issue with round breast implants, they have been criticised for looking too artificial, which is why teardrop implants are growing in popularity.

Teardrop implants look, unsurprisingly, like a tear, with a sloped contour that leaves breasts looking bigger at the bottom and smaller at the top. Many patients say they look more natural than rounded implants and also give greater projection and volume. Teardrop implants are usually more expensive and need to have a textured surface to keep them from rotating and distorting.

Personally, I think teardrop-shaped implants are not necessary, as gravity will make round implants pear-shaped anyway, and there are ways of making any type of implants look natural.

Natural-looking breast implants

I have spoken a lot about natural looking results in this article, but there is only one way to guarantee natural looking breasts following cosmetic surgery, and that is with the signature Split Muscle procedure I perform here at Harley Street Aesthetics. My ground-breaking technique is different to standard augmentation procedures as the implants aren't placed on top of the chest muscle or below it. Instead, my technique involves splitting the chest muscles to create an implant pocket which is both epi- and sub-pectoral. The results of my signature procedure are spectacular, and the procedure is guaranteed to avoid the common ‘tennis ball’ appearance that many women complain of following a standard breast augmentation operation.

If you are considering a breast augmentation procedure, it is important to make sure you know exactly what you want before having plastic surgery. Here at Harley Street Aesthetics, all my patients go through an initial consultation with me so that I can better understand their needs and make sure that cosmetic surgery is the best course of action for them. To arrange a consultation, please contact 0845 519 7232, email: info@harleystreetaesthetics.com or fill out our online enquiry form.


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