Dr Ioannis Georgiou
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
What are Breast Implants?
A breast implant is a medical prosthesis made of medical silicon used to augment, reconstruct, or recreate the physical form of breasts.
How many shapes?
There are two main shapes of breast implants. Anatomical implants looks like a teardrop and they can give the breast a natural shape. They can only be oriented in one way, so the pocket has to be very precise in order to avoid rotation leaving the breast looking misshaped. The implant will feel firmer as it is more solid in order to keep its shape.
Round implants are used more commonly as they feel softer and the orientation does not matter, making the surgery much easier. In very thin patients with little breast volume though will make the breast look unnatural.
Under or over the muscle?
The placement over the muscle is easier and the recovery is more straightforward with less pain. The breast animations due to the muscle movements are eliminated, thus achieving a more natural result. Never the less edge visibility and palpability can become an issue in thinner patients with little breast volume. The risk for capsular contracture is higher.
The placement under the muscle cause more pain and the recovery takes longer. Contracture of the muscle may cause distortion of the breast during movements. The capsular contracture rate is lower. However is the only option in thin patients with minimal breast tissue.
For how long?
New breast implants do have the possibility of lasting a lifetime. They need to be changed only if you have problems with them. However due to aging, pregnancies and breast feeding, the breast tissue will lose its elasticity and sag, while the implant remains at the original location. That’s why a second operation might need to elevate the breast after several years. In generally we can say that the longer a woman has breast implants, the more likely she is to experience local complications or adverse outcome needing a reoperation. Make sure that your surgeon will be available to follow you also several months or years after the surgery and not just for a couple of days.
You should not choose the size based on the size of your best friends implants or your favorite actress. Each breast is unique and needs a unique evaluation. The breast implant is for the whole life and not for a couple of months. The bigger the size the more the complications the less will last. Your plastic surgeon will measure your breast and let you know the most appropriate size for you.
Any serious complications?
The most feared complication is the capsular contracture (hardening of the breast area around the implant). This can cause pain and deform the breasts. Its frequency may range between 5-15% off all breast enlargements and in severe cases a second operation will be needed to change the implants. Other complications that they may need a second surgery are hematomas (collection of blood), implant displacement and infections. Rupture of the breast implant (a tear or hole in the implant) it’s a rare complication. There are no proven associations between implants and connective tissue diseases, autoimmune diseases, breast cancer or reproductive problems.
Overall breast enlargement is a safe procedure but you should aim for a small natural breast and should assume that you will need to have additional surgeries.