The Best Guide To Breast Plastic Surgery And Breast Augmentation


Helen HeckerA breast implant is a prosthesis used to enlarge the size of a woman’s breast; one of many types of breast plastic surgery. If you’re considering breast plastic surgery, it’s important to know all the pros and cons related to the type you want. Non-cosmetic clinical indications for the use of breast implants are for breast reconstruction, sex reassignment surgery, and for abnormalities, usually congenital, that affect the shape and size of the breast.

Since the saline implants are empty when they are surgically inserted, the scar is smaller than is necessary than for the silicone gel breast implants which are already filled with silicone before they are placed. In the mid 1980s, advances in manufacturing principles brought about elastomer-coated shells to decrease gel bleed, and are filled with thicker, more cohesive gel; these implants are sold under restricted conditions in the U.S. and Canada, and are widely used in other countries. Dr. Thomas Cronin and Dr. Frank Gerow, two Houston, Texas, plastic surgeons, developed the first silicone breast prosthesis with the Dow Corning Corporation in back in 1961.

In the 1970s plastic surgeons wanted softer and more lifelike implants so breast implants were redesigned with thinner gel and thinner shells; these implants had a greater tendency to rupture and leak, or “bleed” silicone through the implant shell into the body cavity and complications such as capsular contracture were common. There are two primary types of breast implants: saline-filled and silicone-gel-filled implants. Compared to silicone gel implants, saline implants are more likely to cause cosmetic problems likes rippling and wrinkling, and can be noticeable to the eye or to the touch.


Saline-filled implants are the most common implant used in the United States due to some restrictions on silicone implants, which may change, but are seldom used in other countries. For women with very little breast tissue, or for post-mastectomy reconstruction, plastic surgeons believe that silicone gel implants are the superior device; but in patients with more breast tissue, saline implants can look very similar to silicone gel implants.

Capsules of tightly-woven collagen fibers form as an immune response around a foreign body like breast implants, which tends to wall it off; capsular contracture happens when the capsule tightens and squeezes the implant. The risk and treatment of extracapsular silicone gel is still controversial; plastic surgeons agree that it’s difficult to remove, but there is disagreement about the lasting health effects. Countries outside of the United States have not endorsed routine MRI screening, and have taken the position that MRI’s should be reserved only for cases involving suspected clinical rupture or to confirm mammographic or ultrasound studies that suggest rupture.

The age and design of the implant are important factors in rupture, but estimating rupture rates of contemporary devices has been difficult for a variety of reasons, mainly because implant designs have changed somewhat over time. One study reported that only 30 percent of ruptures in asymptomatic patients are accurately detected by experienced plastic surgeons, compared to 86 percent detected by MRI. When breast implants are removed that have been implanted for a long period of time, a mastopexy is often performed to tighten up the loose skin: this is additional surgery usually done at the same time and at an additional expense.

Thousands of women claim they have become ill from their breast implants; complaints include neurological and rheumatological problems. Some studies have suggested that subjective and objective symptoms of women with breast implants may improve partially or entirely when their implants are removed.

When breast implants are removed that have been implanted for a long period of time, a mastopexy is often performed to tighten up the loose skin: this is additional surgery usually done at the same time at an additional expense. Since the early 1990s, a number of independent reviewers have examined studies concerning links between silicone gel breast implants and systemic diseases; the consensus of these reviews is that there is no clear evidence of a causal link between the implantation of silicone breast implants in breast plastic surgery and systemic disease; it’s always wondered who is funding these studies and that should clearly be stated.

Just a reminder; breast augmentation is an elective cosmetic breast plastic surgery. Although the international consensus is that silicone implants in breast plastic surgery has not been shown to cause systemic illness, one must keep in mind that many women have reported a connection to symptoms they are having and to their breast augmentation. After breast plastic surgery, depending on the level of activity required, patients are usually able to return to work or school in about a week, sometimes sooner.

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