You should discuss implant type options in your consultation with your cosmetic surgeon as the best combination of these choices will be dependent upon your personal circumstances e.g. the shape and the size of your own natural breast tissue.
In modern day breast enlargement surgery in the UK, there are three types of synthetic breast implants used: polyurethane, saline and silicone breast implants. You may also be interested to read our article on the breast enlargement history and the materials used historically for breast implants.
As well as the synthetic implants, natural body tissue is also sometimes used, however this is usually for reconstructive surgery. Natural tissue is not much used for cosmetic purposes, typically because of scars at the expense of the body regions which were used as the donor.
Saline breast implants consist of a silicone elastomer bag filled with sterile saline solution. Saline is simply salt water. Expandable implants are available which can be adjusted in size, typically up to 6 months after surgery. When these are inserted initially, they are under filled and have a filler port attached to them. Over a period of a few weeks after surgery, you will return to visit your surgeon who will inject additional saline into the implants, typically in 50 cc increments. Once you are happy with the size, then the filler ports are removed. This approach will help reduce traumatisation of your natural tissues and help minimise stretch marks.
There is a limit as to how much filling can be done (i.e. the maximum capacity). However, slight over-filling is possible and this is sometimes used to balance out differences in natural breast size so that the overall effect is close to identical breast sizes.
- Long lifetime - 10 to 14 years.
- In the rare event of breast implant rupture, the sterile saline solution can safely be absorbed into the body tissue.
- Saline implants may be inflated during surgery or they can be or pre-filled. The size can also be adjusted relatively easily after surgery without having to have them replaced. This is done by filling or removing saline through a valve.
- Saline implants may, over time, start to shrink and wrinkle.
- They may feel or appear less natural than silicone implants.