Breast Augmentation vs. Implants: Which is Best for You?

When it comes to cosmetic surgical procedures to enhance the appearance of breasts, there are many choices, options and terms to understand. Understanding the difference between breast augmentation and implants is an important part of deciding on the right procedure for your unique goals. Education is among our top priorities at Schaffer Plastic Surgery, as we want our patients to be informed and confident in their decisions about their treatments.

What is Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation is an umbrella term for any cosmetic surgical procedure to enhance the size of the breasts that involves the placement of breast implants under the breast tissue or chest muscles with the goal of making the breasts look fuller and bigger. Keep in mind that this does not equate to a lift of the breast, which is a separate procedure, although implants can often help to achieve a lifted appearance. Breast augmentation can also involve a fat transfer (fat graft augmentation surgery) from another part of the body to adjust breast shape, size or texture, although this is a less common option.

What Are Breast Implants?

Breast implants are medical prostheses placed inside the breast to reconstruct, create or augment the breasts. There are two options for breast implants, saline or silicone, although patients younger than age 22 are only eligible for saline implants.

Saline implants consist of a sterile saline solution (like salt water) that is in an elastomer silicone shell. How much the shell is filled influences firmness and breast shape. Saline implants are inserted as an empty shell; then, after they are placed, they are filled until the breast reaches the preferred shape and size. Because of this, they are a great choice for people with uneven breasts or for people looking to make their breasts more proportional to their body. Since the body absorbs saline, leaks are relatively safe and easy to detect.

Silicone implants involve a silicone shell filled with silicone gel. Since silicone implants look, feel and move like natural breasts, they are a more popular choice than saline implants. However, silicone implants require routine follow-up appointments to monitor implants for leakage, since leaked silicone can lead to dangerous side effects.

Considerations of Breast Implants

Breast implants are not permanent. They can last for about a decade, and it is advised to get yearly check-ups to ensure there is no leakage. At any time, breast implants can be surgically removed. In some cases, they can also be enlarged or adjusted. Additionally, women who have breast implants can almost always successfully breastfeed but should not be pregnant or breastfeeding at the time of surgery. Ideally, patients should be in good health and at a stable weight when getting breast implants.

Reasons to Undergo Breast Augmentation

Aging, weight loss and breastfeeding can take a toll on the appearance of the breasts. Asymmetry, sagging and loss of shape can all be addressed by breast augmentation surgery. Nipples can even be moved or adjusted to achieve a perkier, more lifted appearance. Our own board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Christopher Schaffer, is a renowned expert in breast augmentation and has a keen eye for details and aesthetics. Thanks to his expertise, he can help patients achieve the natural-looking results they desire without the appearance of being overdone.

The Right Breast Augmentation for You

At your consultation with Dr. Schaffer, you will be able to explain your unique goals and address your specific concerns. Dr. Schaffer will explain the various breast augmentation procedure choices that apply to your situation and help you decide on the best option to achieve your goals. If you are unsure if you would prefer saline versus silicone implants, a breast augmentation versus a breast lift or have other questions regarding breast enhancement surgeries, Dr. Schaffer will spend as much time as necessary helping you make the most informed decisions possible. To schedule your appointment, call our office at 205-278-7969.