For decades, breast augmentation has been among the top 5 most popular aesthetic surgical procedures for women. In fact, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, it has been one of the top 2 most popular procedures since they began surveying physicians 20 years ago! But, while breast augmentation has remained consistently popular, what has changed significantly over the past few decades are the myriad options available to women looking to add volume to their chest. Technological innovations and improvements in procedural techniques have advanced the procedure, making it much more accessible with less downtime and more tailor-made options for individual patients as opposed to a one-size-fits-all implant.
This is why it’s critical for anyone seeking breast augmentation to seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in the procedure, who is also well-versed on all of the options available and adept at guiding a patient to which choice might be best-suited for them.
Here are the augmentation options we share with our patients:
Among the most popular choices, silicone implants are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and profiles to accommodate nearly everybody. Silicone gel-filled breast implants are filled with soft, elastic gel and are available in a variety of shapes. All silicone gel breast implants are pre-filled and may require a longer incision for implant placement.
Cohesive gel silicone gel-filled breast implants, also known as “gummy bear” or “form stable” implants, are filled with a cohesive gel, made of cross-linked molecules of silicone, which makes them a bit thicker and firmer than traditional silicone gel implants. This enables them to hold their shape better. Approved by the FDA for use in the United States in 2012, these implants have been available in much of the world since 1992.
Women tend to like these implants due to their tendency to have a natural look and feel and because the chances of complications like breast rippling are reduced.
Saline-filled breast implants are filled with sterile salt water. They may be prefilled at a predetermined size, or filled at the time of surgery to allow for minor modifications in implant size. Structured saline-filled breast implants are filled with sterile salt water, but contain a structure inside so they behave as if filled with soft, elastic silicone gel. This structure enables them to hold their shape better than traditional saline implants. Approved by the FDA and Health Canada in 2014, these implants have been available since 2015.
While not as popular as silicone, saline appeals to certain women due to the ability to customize the sizing on a fairly pinpointed scale.
Autologous fat transfer, (AKA Fat Grafting) removes fat through liposuction from an area of your body in which there are abundant fat cells, such as your thighs, abdomen and hips. After a process of preparation and refinement, the fat cells are injected into your breast. This can be used independent of implants to achieve a small volume increase, (about a cup size), or in concert with implants to add an element of a natural look and feel. Fat grafting is a win-win for a lot of patients because it involves the removal of fat from an unwanted area and places it into an area where more fat is desired. Plus, your own body won’t reject its own fat, which is another bonus.
There are many choices in breast augmentation these days, designed to provide patients with customized results that will look both natural and beautiful. While we rarely see women requesting disproportionately large implants these days, many women come in looking for a small amount of added volume that is discrete and perfectly proportioned to their size and shape. It requires a skilled breast augmentation surgeon to deliver the right results for each individual patient. Make sure you look for an Aesthetic Society board-certified plastic surgeon if you’re considering breast enhancing surgery.