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Different types of breast implants 101

Different types of breast implants 101

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, breast augmentation surgery is a common form of plastic surgery that involves the insertion of implants into a patient's breast tissue. According to a report from ABC News, breast augmentation surgery is incredibly popular across the U.S., with the industry drawing in, annually, around $1 billion.

Many individuals who opt to undergo this form of surgery do so for cosmetic reasons. Breast augmentation procedures are also commonly used in patients who have experienced breast tissue loss or damage due to illness or injury. For example, breast cancer patients who have undergone a mastectomy may decide to have breast implants inserted. In such cases, the surgery is more commonly understood as breast reconstruction.

No matter the motivation for surgery, the kinds of breast implants that are currently available remain the same. This article will take a look at the types of breast implants available, as well as strategies for reducing risk of cross-contamination during augmentation and reconstructive surgery.

Types of breast implants
According to the FDA, breast implants must legally only contain either silicone gel or saline water. Either way, the outer case of implants are constructed from silicone. There are notable differences between silicone and saline implants:

  • As detailed by the Mayo Clinic, silicone filled breast implants arguably offer a more natural feeling result. This is due to the fact that the thick silicone gel inside the implant offers a firmness that is akin to real body tissue. The source noted that to opt for this kind of implant for cosmetic reasons, patients must be over the age of 22. There are no age restrictions if a patient is having breast reconstruction surgery after illness or injury. 
  • Saline implants are constructed of silicone shells. They are then filled with salt water solution. Unlike silicone gel implants, there is not an upper age restriction of 22. The rules applied are the same as for other forms of plastic surgery – patients must be 18.

Although implants can only be either saline or silicone, there are variations under those umbrellas. As detailed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, patients can opt for either:

1. Smooth breast implants
This form of implant is able to move freely within the space of breast tissue carved out by surgeons. The source noted that in addition to being able to move around, the smooth breast implants are usually the softest.

2. Round breast implants
This form of implant is used when patients desire results that are particularly large or full. 

3. Gummy bear breast implants
Gummy bear breast implants offer the most firmness, due to the extra thick silicone gel contained inside them. Gummy bear implants are becoming popular because they are less likely to rupture and deflate. They are also effective at maintaining their shape, even if a tear or damage occurs. Indeed, according to a report from ABC News, gummy bear implants derive their name from their durability. The source interviewed Dr. Grant Stevens of California, who is responsible for the unique name of the implants. He explained that the term "gummy bear" refers to the popular candies, which, just like the implants when cut, remain firm and in a workable condition.

There are several forms of implants to choose from.There are several forms of implants to choose from.

Risks of breast augmentation surgery
Breast augmentation surgery can be a risky endeavor. Indeed, according to statistics from the University of Michigan, there is an overall 28 percent risk that patients will develop complications after an augmentation procedure. Some of the most notable complications that patients can experience include, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Rupture or leaking. 
  • Deflation – this occurs most commonly after a saline filled implant bursts.
  • Infections, including surgical site infections.
  • Pain, sensitivity or a loss of sensation in the breast.
  • Scarring.

For more information about the risks of breast augmentation surgery, click here.

The benefits of reusable tools
Given the risk of surgical site infections, one way that clinics and hospitals can help to protect patients from cross-contamination with surgical tools is by opting to use single-use devices. A prime example is the ONETRAC Single-use Cordless Surgical Retractor from OBP Medical. Powered by a safe LED light source, the retractors are durable, pre-assembled and most importantly, present no risk of cross-contamination to patients. To learn more and request a free sample, click here.

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