What Are Silicone Breast Implants? Introduction and Benefits
If you’re looking to enhance your breasts, silicone breast implants are a popular choice. They come in different shapes and sizes to help women achieve their dream looks. By choosing a reputable plastic surgeon, you can get beautiful, natural-looking results with silicone implants.
Before committing to the surgery, though, it’s important to understand the different types of silicone implants available, what the procedure is like, and what to expect during recovery.
What Are Silicone Breast Implants?
Silicone breast implants are medical devices used for breast augmentation and breast reconstruction. According to Mayo Clinic, these implants have silicone outer shells filled with silicone gel . The silicone filling is thick and feels like natural breast tissue. Unlike silicone injections used in other procedures, the silicone gel stays inside the implant shell.
Medical experts have tested the silicone materials extensively over the years to ensure safety. Women at least 22 years old are eligible to get silicone breast implants for augmentation. If you’re looking to get silicone breast implants for reconstruction, age isn’t as much of a concern — as long as you consult with an experienced provider and don’t have pre-existing health conditions .
Why Choose Silicone Breast Implants?
Many women choose silicone implants over other types like saline implants for various reasons.
Silicone breast implants…
Imitate the look and feel of real breast tissue
Produce less scar tissue
Present a lower chance of rippling or wrinkling
Don’t feel as heavy as saline implants
Hold their shape better over time
Are available in various profiles like round or teardrop shapes
The Different Types of Silicone Implants
You have several options to choose from when considering silicone implants.
Let’s explore each of them:
Traditional Silicone Implants
Traditional silicone implants have a liquid silicone filling inside a solid silicone elastomer shell. These implants feel and look more like natural breast tissue than gummy bear implants, which are more cohesive.
Form-Stable or "Gummy Bear" Implants
Form-stable implants have a thicker, more cohesive silicone gel that holds its shape like a gummy bear candy. These implants don’t move around as much inside the implant pocket. Compared to other silicone implants, gummy bear implants hold their shape even if their shells break .
Smooth Silicone Implants
Smooth-surface silicone implants feature a supple, glossy silicone casing that’s smooth to the touch. This sleek surface doesn’t cling to the scar tissue around it. As a result, the implant has the freedom to move within the breast’s natural tissue.
Textured Silicone Implants
Textured silicone implants come with a more robust, coarse exterior that feels like soft, rubber sandpaper. This surface helps the implant attach to the breast tissue and reduce shifting. The thicker silicone holds shape well, making it a promising option if you’re after a teardrop shape.
It’s worth noting that fewer surgeons are using textured silicone implants today, due to their association with breast implant-associated lymphoma.
Benefits of Silicone Breast Implants
There are many potential aesthetic and psychological benefits of getting silicone breast implants:
Restore breasts after a breast removal procedure as a result of cancer or another health condition
Increase breast size and fullness to help fill out clothing
Correct asymmetrical breasts
Improve self-esteem and body image satisfaction
Get a natural, proportionate breast shape appropriate for your frame
Restore volume lost after weight loss, pregnancy, or breastfeeding
Enjoy a simple outpatient procedure
Most experience full recovery within 6 weeks
Average Cost for Silicone Breast Implants
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation surgery can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 . In Los Angeles, it costs $7,500 to $12,500.
Your exact cost can vary based on factors like:
Surgeon’s fees that reflect experience
Hospital or surgical facility costs
Your geographic location
Type of implant
Since breast augmentation is a cosmetic procedure, most health insurance plans won’t cover the costs. But financing plans may be available to help make it more affordable. Ask your provider about their options during your initial consultation.
The Procedure for Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone breast implant surgery is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia.
Here’s a step-by-step overview:
Step 1: Consultation
During your consultation, the plastic surgeon will evaluate your body and discuss things like:
Available payment plans
Plastic surgeons typically use 3D imaging systems to simulate potential outcomes.
Step 2: Pre-Operative Assessment
After the consultation, your provider will conduct some standard health tests to ensure it’s safe for you to proceed with the surgery. A baseline mammogram may be recommended for breast cancer screening.
Step 3: Anesthesia
You’ll go under general anesthesia before going under the knife. There will be a nurse anesthetist or an anesthesiologist administering the anesthesia. This keeps you comfortable during the procedure.
Step 4: Making the Incision
The surgeon will make a small incision — typically under the breast, around the areola, or in the armpit . They’ll carefully prepare the implant pocket according to the dimensions of the implant you chose.
Step 5: Insertion of Implant
Silicone implants come pre-filled from the manufacturer. The surgeon will carefully insert the sterile silicone implant through the incision, typically using a Keller funnel tool. This helps guide the implant into position smoothly while maintaining sterility.
Step 6: Closing the Incisions
The surgeon will close your incisions with dissolvable sutures. He may use surgical tape or skin adhesive to cover the incision site. Incision lines should fade over time. However, scar quality depends on factors like your genetics and lifestyle .
Step 7: Recovery
After surgery, you’ll recover in the recovery room for 1-2 hours. Have a trusted family member or friend available to drive you home the same day. Temporary side effects like swelling, bruising, numbness, and mild pain are common. The exact healing times vary per patient, but you’ll notice the side effects subsiding over a few weeks .
The recovery process looks different for every patient. For a smooth recovery and optimal healing, follow all care instructions from your plastic surgeon.
In general, here’s what you can expect during the recovery period after silicone breast implant surgery :
1 Day Post-Op
Focus on rest and minimize activity to allow initial healing
Have someone available to take you home and help with daily tasks
Take prescribed pain medication or muscle relaxers as directed (some discomfort is normal)
Wear a post-surgical bra to support the breasts as recommended
Expect swelling to make breasts appear larger than their final size (this will subside over the first few weeks)
1 Week Post-Op
You may have mild pain but the intensity should decrease
Resume light day-to-day activities with your surgeon’s approval
Refrain from strenuous activities like lifting your arms over your head
Breast implants start settling into place
Massage the breast tissue to help reduce swelling and relax the muscles
3-4 Weeks Post-Op
Bruising and swelling continue to fade
Continue wearing your post-surgical bra to promote healing
Engage in light exercises with your surgeon’s approval
Numbness or nerve hypersensitivity around the breasts and nipples may start to improve
4-6 Weeks Post-Op
Resume regular activity with your surgeon’s approval
Breasts look and feel more natural
Breasts continue to settle into position but will still be healing internally over the next few months
Make a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to ensure a successful full recovery
Let your surgeon know if your recovery differs significantly from the expected timeline. And remember — following all post-op care instructions is vital for smooth, long-lasting results.
Potential Risks and Complications
Serious complications are rare when you choose an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your silicone breast implant surgery. But there’s always a chance of risks and complications with any surgery.
Here are some to be aware of:
Capsular contracture: Scar tissue tightens around the implant, potentially causing pain, distortion, and the need for additional surgery .
Infection: Infection usually happens soon after surgery if it does. Oral antibiotics, implant removal, or replacement may be necessary to heal.
Implant leakage or rupture: Silicone implant ruptures are most often silent, so MRI scans are necessary to confirm suspected leaks.
Rippling or wrinkling: This is more common with saline implants, but if it happens, replacement or surgical revision may be necessary.
Breast pain: This is usually temporary but may persist in some patients. Removing or replacing implants often resolves this.
Numbness: Nipple numbness normally resolves completely within 6 months as nerves heal.
BIA-ALCL: This is a rare lymphoma in the scar tissue and fluid near the implant. The risk is low but can be fatal if not treated right away .
Maintenance and Lifespan of Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone breast implants aren’t designed to last forever. But they usually have a long lifespan unless a complication occurs. On average, silicone implants may last anywhere from 10-20 years . The more cohesive, form-stable “gummy bear” implants may last longer than traditional silicone gel types.
To monitor implant health, the FDA recommends getting an MRI or ultrasound screening every 2-3 years . These imaging tests can help detect silent ruptures not apparent on a physical exam.
While implants don’t have an indefinite lifespan, women may choose to get their implants replaced or removed earlier for personal reasons. For example, some opt for a replacement to change the size or style of their implants. Others decide on removal without replacement because they no longer want augmentation.
Your plastic surgeon can guide you through all potential options if you become dissatisfied with your implants.
How to Choose A Doctor for Your Silicone Breast Implant Procedure
Selecting a qualified plastic surgeon is paramount for safe, beautiful long-term results.
Here are a few things to consider as you find the right doctor:
Verify board certification with the American Board of Plastic Surgery
Look for a surgeon who performs many breast augmentation procedures annually and has years of experience
Ask to see their patients’ before and after photos
Speak with former patients if possible
Pick a surgeon you trust who listens carefully to your goals and concerns, and will explain the procedure thoroughly
Choose an accredited surgical facility with trained anesthesiology staff
Confirm the surgeon is trained on the latest silicone implant brands and surgical techniques
Read online reviews about the practice(s) and surgeon(s) you’re considering
Silicone Breast Implant Specialist Near Me | Burbank, CA
Silicone breast implants are a tried-and-true option for improving breast size and shape. Advances in silicone technology and implant design allow surgeons to achieve incredibly natural-looking results.
While no surgery is without risks, current-generation silicone implants have an excellent safety profile. By trusting an experienced, board-certified surgeon and following recommended post-op care instructions, you can enjoy stunning, rejuvenated breasts for years to come.
If you’re looking for a renowned surgeon in Burbank, CA, look no further than Dr. Orloff at Burbank Plastic Surgery. He’s been recognized as a leading Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon for 26 years. With more than 12,000 procedures safely performed, he and his caring team at Burbank Plastic Surgery can guide you through your cosmetic surgery journey. Book a consultation today to get started.
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