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The Different Types of Breast Implants

By: Dr. Christopher Khorsandi


Choosing an Implant

Not all breast enhancement options are the same. There are two major types of breast implants: silicone and saline. Aside from that, there are further choices that you have as far as shape, size and profile. Each implant has a different effect on your overall appearance. Some are better for subtle changes in body shape, while others have a more dramatic effect. Make sure you discuss all your options with your plastic surgeon, but in the meantime, explore some information about the main difference between the various types below.

Saline vs. Silicone

Both silicone and saline implants are approved by the FDA, so there is no concern as far as health goes. The first basic difference is what fills the implants. Saline implants are filled with a saltwater-based solution, much like a fluid that is prominent in the human body. These implants feel slightly firmer to the touch. Silicone implants, on the other hand, are filled with a cohesive gel. They are designed to give the breast a natural shape and resemble the feel of natural breasts while still maintaining a firm, youthful feel.

Silicone implants have a set fill volume that will not vary. Saline implants have a flexible fill volume, meaning that the surgeon can adjust the volume during the procedure if you desire.

Implant Shape

Once you have decided between silicone and saline implant option, there are still a few more decisions for you to make. Silicone implants may come in two different shapes: round and teardrop. Teardrop implants resemble a natural breast silhouette, with a thinner top and a fuller bottom. Round breast implants are, of course, round. Once they are in position, round implants can be shifted around slightly while still maintaining the breast’s shape.

Implant Profile

Another factor to consider in choosing the right implant for you is that of profile. The profile refers to how far out from your body the implant projects. Profile options go from moderate to ultra-high options; the higher the profile, the more prominent the projection. You can choose this based on what you would like your silhouette to look like.

Implant Texture

You will also have a choice as far as texture for your implant shells. You can select them to be either smooth or textured. Smooth implants tend to have a lower incidence of rippling later on and they do not stick to the breast capsule. They are more commonly used with round implants. Textured implants were designed to lower the capsular contracture rate, and are necessary for shaped implants to maintain their orientation. Your surgeon can provide you with more information on the right surface texture for you and your body.

Making a Decision

Additional factors and options apply than are mentioned here, but you now have an idea of the kinds of options from which you can choose. Ask your plastic surgeon if you have any more questions about which type of implants will give you the look you desire.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.