There are many options in choosing breast implants for breast augmentation. A new option has recently been added to the mix; the Ideal Implant.
Breast implants can be filled with saline (salt water) or silicone gel filled. The saline implants are filled at the time of surgery and the silicone gel implants come prefilled. The outside can be smooth or have varying degrees of roughness or texturing. The implants can be partially filled, completely filled or overfilled. They can have different width to height rations or different types and degrees of projection. The gel can be very soft, medium or firm. The implants can be completely round or have a shape with various dimensions of height, width and projection.
Each implant has its pros and cons.
The two largest general categories for implants are saline filled and silicone gel filled. The silicone gel implants tend to be softer and more natural but can have silent ruptures. A rupture is when the implant breaks but you really can’t tell that it is broken just by looking at or feeling the implant. This has led to the FDA recommendation to perform MRI scans three years after placing the implants and every two years thereafter. The MRI scan is the best noninvasive way to determine if the implant is broken. These scans are usually not covered by insurance. It is also recommended that if there is a ruptured implant that it be replaced. Replacement of a ruptured silicone gel implant requires removal of the scar tissue around the implant at the same time. This is done to remove as much of the free silicone gel as possible.
If a saline implant breaks it will deflate. It is very evident when that has occurred. No MRI scans are needed. If they do have to be replaced it is a much less invasive and simpler procedure when compared to the silicone gel implants. Saline implants do have the downside of being less natural in the way they look and feel. They look rounder and feel firmer. There may also be more rippling of the saline implant when compared to the silicone gel implant.
There is now a new implant that combines some of the pros and eliminates some of the negatives of silicone gel and saline implants. It is called the Ideal implant. It is a saline implant that looks, feels and acts like a silicone gel implant but does not require MRI follow up. Just like saline implants it will deflate visibly if ruptured and is easily replaced. It is also adjustable when initially placed. Just like silicone gel implants it is softer and more natural in look and feel.
The Ideal implant is priced about the same as a silicone gel implant and carries similar warranties. The incision tends to be smaller than that for a silicone gel implant because it is filled with the salt water after it is in place, unlike the silicone gel implant that is prefilled.
This new type of implant was developed by plastic surgeons and appears to offer a suitable alternative to the old style saline implants and the silicone gel filled implants. A complete discussion with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery with extensive experience in breast augmentation can help you decide what type of implant is right for you.
by Dr. John Stratis