For several years both American Society of Plastic Surgeon (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) listed breast augmentation as the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure.
Ann Arbor breast surgeon Dr. Robert Burke, who has had extensive experience with many variations of implants believes that the choice of implant is ultimately up to the patient.
Dr. Burke believes that certain body types are better suited for certain types of implants and whether the woman has or wants to have children plays a role in the options.
Many women considering breast augmentation for the first time typically have a variety of questions revolving around which breast implant to choose for their specific situation. Generally, the first detail to consider concerning breast implants pertains to the type of implant to use in the procedure. Breast implants can be filled with saline or silicone gel, each having its own set of advantages depending upon the needs and the anatomy of the patient.
According to Dr. Burke, "saline implants are typically used in younger patients as this procedure only requires a small incision." Although saline implants do extremely well in younger patients, "the disadvantage of is that they may not feel as natural as gel implants if the patient lacks the breast tissue needed to cover the implant", stated Burke. Another disadvantage to using saline implants is that depending on their body type, a patient may experience "rippling" along the edges of the implant.
If a saline implant is not the right choice for a patient, they may decide to choose a gel implant. The main benefit of a gel implant is its authenticity. "I've been working with gel implants for over 10 years and when I examine women post-op, gel implants always felt like a natural breast", stated Dr. Burke.
In addition to choosing between saline and gel implants, a person considering breast augmentation would also have to consider the texture, shape, and profile of the implant. In terms of the shape, the overwhelming majority of patients choose a round implant, however there are other implant shapes that can be used in rare circumstances. Coated and uncoated implants are also the two types of textures that are generally associated with breast augmentation procedures. Although both types of textures are used regularly, many cosmetic surgeons prefer the smooth implant as studies have shown that there is a difference in the longevity of the smooth implant as opposed to its counterpart.
Although the shape and texture of the implant is important, arguably the most important choice regarding breast implants pertains to the profile of the implant. Generally, most women will have three different profiles to choose from including a high profile, moderate plus profile, and a low profile. A high profile refers to the width versus the projection of the implant and is typically seen in smaller and younger women who have a smaller chest. This implant profile gives the breast a perkier look and conforms to the shape of a woman with a smaller frame.
If a woman is older or has a larger chest, a moderate plus implant profile might be a more suitable choice as it can fill in the pockets between the fatty tissue and muscle. One problem with the moderate plus profile is that if the size and length of the implant does not match the body type of the patient, the implant will look unnatural. The low profile implant is rarely used, but when it is used, it is normally with older patients who really aren't looking for much projection in relation to width of the implant.
Breast augmentation patients come in a variety of categories including the young women without children, working mothers looking for a "mommy makeover", and older women that are done having children and are simply looking to touch up their bodies. Regardless of their category, one commonality among all of these groups of women is the desire to have their implants look natural above all else.