Thanks to advances in plastic surgery technology, there are now several options available to women who want to undergo breast augmentation. Choosing the right one will depend a lot on your own personal situation: how much money you want to spend, your ideal breast size, your concern about complications, and more. Below you’ll find a short rundown of the most popular augmentation techniques, including their risks, popularity, and typical results.
Saline breast implants are filled with sterile saltwater and covered with a silicone shell. During the procedure the implant is empty when placed inside the breast and is later filled with the solution. Saline implants are available with either smooth or textured shells, and deciding between the two is normally just a matter of personal preference.
Since the FDA removed its moratorium on silicone implants in 2006, the popularity of saline has declined. They have only been used in about 25% of all breast augmentation procedures in recent years. Even though the likelihood of rupture is high, saline implants are generally considered safe, because the human body can easily eliminate any saltwater that gets absorbed. While saline implants are less expensive than silicone, most women find that they do not look or feel quite as realistic.
Silicone breast implants are by far the most common choice for women undergoing the procedure—about 75% of all breast augmentations involve them. This is largely due to the fact that silicone provides patients with a much more realistic look and feel. Unlike saline implants, silicone implants will not necessarily begin to collapse if they leak, which means that women using them will typically have to schedule follow-up appointments with their plastic surgeons to ensure they remain intact.
Recent developments in silicone technology have led to a new “gummy bear” implant that is much firmer than traditional implants and less likely to rupture. However, these implants have a tendency to migrate from their original position, which means that they can lead to an unnatural appearance of the breast.
Women who want a breast augmentation but are worried about implants also have the option of using a fat transfer. In this procedure, fatty tissue is taken from some other part of the body, typically the thighs or buttocks, and inserted into the breast. This procedure provides women with the most natural-looking results and requires only minimal incisions. However, only small quantities of fat can be transferred, which means that patients can expect to increase only one cup size at the most.