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Different Types of Breast Implants

Learn about the different types of breast implants from plastic surgeon Robert J. Morin, M.D. in this Howcast video.


We're discussing the different types of breast implants. In general, there are two types of breast implants available in the United States, saline implants and silicone implants.

Silicone implants were taken off of the market in the United States for 14 years back in the '90s and early 2000s. These implants were studied extensively, and in 2006, the FDA determined that the implants are safe, and they were put back into use. So now everyone has a question about whether they should get saline implants or silicone implants.

This is a silicone implant. It's filled with high grade medical silicone. In my opinion, it's much more natural, and it has a consistency that is much more similar to breast tissue. It gives a more natural result and a more natural feel. Saline implants need to be inflated with saline which is a liquid similar to water. When you inflate a saline implant, you actually need to over-inflate the implant because there'a a tendency for the edges of the implant to ripple. If you don't over-inflate the implant, you can feel this rippling along the side of the breast wall. What happens when you over-inflate an implant, however, is you get a firmer implant. So in my patients, I recommend silicone implants, and now that it's been determined by the FDA to be safe, it's the product that I use in the majority of my breast augmentations.

There are also differences in the shell of the implant. There's a smooth shell, and there's a textured shell. In the United States, most people use the smooth shell. However, the textured shell is a reasonable option, and it's actually used most commonly throughout the rest of the world. This would be a conversation that you would have with your plastic surgeon. In addition, recently anatomic shaped implants have come into use in the United States. The conversation about whether or not to use anatomic implants is a long one, and that's something that you would want to discuss with your surgeon. However, in my personal opinion, when you take a round implant, put it in a woman and have the woman stand up, gravity automatically creates a anatomic implant. Therefore, personally in my hands, I use smooth round silicone implants in the majority of my patients.

And those are basically the differences of the implant types.

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