Breast Implant Types in Chicago and Northbrook, IL
The first thing that you should know about breast implants is that all of them have an outer layer that is made up of a “rubbery” silicone shell. This shell can be smooth or textured which can offer different benefits. The second point of interest is that implants that are FDA approved in the United States are provided by only 3 different companies; Mentor, Allergan, and Sientra. The differences between the products made by each of these implants are subtle but real enough that I believe that there are potential benefits to some patients that are situational and should be discussed with your Plastic Surgeon. I happen to provide implants made by all three companies. Implants are offered with different amounts of projection (often low, moderate, and high) so that more body and breast types can be fit more naturally.
Each company provides their own version of the following different types of breast implants:
These implants are filled with sterile salt water (Saline) in the operating room. They come to the OR filled with sterile air, in sterile packaging. In the operating room, the air is extracted and the implant is infused with sterile saline. Saline implants are often overfilled by about 20% to reduce the appearance of wrinkling in the shell which can lead them to have a firmer feel and less natural look. Some of the benefits are that they are less expensive and they can be positioned through a smaller incision. The potential downsides are that they are easier to feel and they have a higher chance of leaving the outer edges of the breast rippled. If these implants were to rupture or leak, the implant will collapse and the saline will be absorbed and expelled by your body.
Silicone Gel Implants
These implants are filled with a silicone gel that is not too dissimilar from Jello consistency. Most people agree that these feel much more natural to their saline counterpart and that is why the great majority of women choose silicone gel implants. If these implants were to rupture or leak, the gel (being a Jello type material) would remain within the implant shell and breast implant pocket. Contrary to the false horror stories that are floating on the internet, the gel does not travel to other parts of the body. The silicone gel will not collapse, and an implant rupture may not be readily apparent, so an ultrasound or MRI screening can properly diagnose a leaking or ruptured silicone gel implant.
Form-Stable (High Cohesive gel) Implants
Sometimes referred as Gummy Bear Breast Implants, these are the newest implants that are FDA approved for augmentation surgery. They, too, are filled with silicone, but the consistency is a thicker more cohesive gel. These implants are available in more natural breast shapes and maintain their form even when the implant shell is broken. These implants are slightly firmer than traditional silicone gel implants and only come with a textured outer shell.
Besides giving a more natural shape to a woman that does not have much breast shape to start with, these also have a significantly lower rate of capsular contracture (thickening of scar tissue surrounding the implant). It is believed that the combination of the sturdier gel and the textured exterior is responsible for the lower contracture rate.