How to Choose Breast Implants by Dr. Hal Bass
You’re unhappy with your breasts and you’ve decided to have them augmented. In fact, you’ve even selected your board-certified cosmetic surgeon. Now you have two more critical decisions to make regarding your implants: #1) the size, and #2) the type.
When it comes to size, be honest about your goals. Do you want natural proportions, or are you leaning toward a more voluptuous look that emphasizes “sexy” rather than “subtle”. Your objectives are personal, and there are no rights or wrongs. But you must factor in your lifestyle, including fashion preferences, the intensity of your athletic activities, and the work and image demands of your job. Also be mindful of your height, weight, and body type. A short woman may find that large breasts make her look overweight even if she’s not. Conversely, a tall woman may want to increase the size of her implants to achieve more balanced proportions.
As far as appearances go, an easy way to estimate the best implant size is to try a simple rice test. Fill a plastic sandwich bag with a measured amount of rice. Then insert the bag into the cup of your bra and keep adding or subtracting rice until you achieve the preferred proportions. After that, your doctor can employ a conversion table to arrive at the implant of appropriate size. I also advise you to try out your new bra size in a variety of different clothes, from suit jacket and blouse, to bathing suit, tank top and sweater.
Silicone versus Saline
You owe it to yourself to know how silicone (gel) and saline (salt water) implants compare before making a decision regarding which type to use. When implanted properly, both can present a natural-looking appearance. Still, there are dramatic differences.
Silicone Gel Implants offer the advantage of a very soft, natural look and feel that’s all but identical to actual breast tissue. They also offer a lower incidence of ripples or wrinkles from capsular contracture. Additionally, because silicone weighs less than saline, there is less chance for downward displacement. Still, silicone implants are more expensive and involve a longer incision, as they are pre-filled when implanted. Finally, there is more chance of a “silent” rupture, which makes regular MRIs necessary for detection.
Meanwhile, Saline Implants show a higher rate of capsular contracture. However, if there is a shell rupture, the contents are absorbed by the body and the leak becomes immediately apparent, making MRIs unnecessary. Additionally, these implants are less expensive and the incision is shorter, as saline implants are filled after they’re positioned. Nevertheless, be sure to weigh those advantages against the fact that saline implants look rounder, harder and less natural. What’s more, the larger sizes are more likely to drop due to their weight.
The best course of action: Discuss your objectives and concerns with your doctor, your family, and those friends who’ve had implants and have valid feedback to share.