Breasts are one of the most important features of a woman’s body as they are considered the symbol of her femininity. Young girls feel they are entering womanhood only when nature adds this beauty to their bodies. Some grow them small, others big. A woman’s breast size majorly depends upon genetics, her weight and nutritional intake.
It was not until 1970’s when big breasts became the fashion and this came with an explosion in demand of breast augmentation. Breast augmentation or breast enhancement is performed using saline or silicone implants which are surgically placed in chest. These implants give breasts a proper shape, texture and size.
Breast augmentation with implants
Implants are artificial devices which are surgically placed in a woman’s chest to increase the volume of her present breasts. Once inserted into the chest they are covered by skin tissue. They give breasts a fuller and richer appearance. Women who want to increase their breast size are given choices between saline implants and silicone implants. Both the implants have an outer shell of silicone and they differ on the basis of filler and the appearance they give.
Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water. They are used for breast augmentation in women who are above 18 years of age.
Silicone implants are filled with silicone gel, a thick fluid that mimics the feel of natural human breast. They are used for women who are above 22 years of age.
Breast implants are also used for women who lose their breast(s) due to cancer. Such surgeries are known as breast reconstruction surgeries and they are more complex and need a higher degree of post-op care as compared to breast enhancement surgery.
Saline vs. silicone implants
Standardized sizes: saline implants are filled once they are placed in the chest. The surgeon can fill the shell as much as the fluid is needed to achieve the desired breast size. It is not possible in silicone implants as they are available in definite sizes, thereby limiting their usage at times.
Safety: saline implants are considered safer than silicone implants because it is filled with salt water that is not harmful for human body. If the implant ruptures, the fluid is absorbed by the surrounding tissue. The leakage of silicone implant causes the chest to deflate and the woman notices the leakage more easily as compared to the leakage from silicone implants
Weight: the difference in weight of both the implants is little. Saline implants are lighter as compared to silicone implants of same size.
Length of the incision: saline implants can be inserted through a smaller incision as they are folded and inserted the chest. Silicone implants come pre-filled and so, they need larger incision for insertion.
Scar: breast augmentation with saline implants result in smaller scar as compared to the surgery using silicone implants.
Potential risks and complications
Both the implants pose same risks and complications however, the severity of the complication may vary with the type of the implant used. These risks include
- Scar tissue or capsular contracture occurs when collagen fibers are woven around the implant, thereby distorting the implant or the breast or both.
- Infection is rare as the surgeon recommends anti-biotic medicines.
- Changes in sensation of nipple or areola are mostly temporary.
- Leakage or rupture of implant needs revision surgery to replace the implant or to remove it.
Revision surgeries are not uncommon in case of breast augmentation. Repair or revision surgery is performed if the woman is not happy with the results (usually the size) or if any medical complication occurs (usually the leakage or rupture of the implant or scar tissue). Revision surgeries are more common in women who have breast reconstruction because of a higher possibility of developing complications after surgery.
Not every breast augmentation ends with revision surgery. A careful selection of surgeon, realistic expectations and proper selection of the implant to match with your soft tissues characteristics and size requirements are some steps that you can take to have a successful breast enhancement with minimum chances of a revision surgery.