Many patients wonder if it is possible to have natural-feeling breasts after breast augmentation. They may think that placing a breast implant under the breast automatically makes the breast feel fake or hard. Fortunately, improvements to breast augmentation procedures, as well as refinements to the actual breast implants, have dramatically enhanced the look and feel of augmented breasts. These medical advancements, coupled with Dr. Cook’s expertise and experience in breast augmentation and breast reconstruction, can give you breasts that feel natural and look beautiful.
Silicone Gel Breast Implants
At the Whole Beauty Institute, most of our patients choose silicone gel breast implants because they feel and look like natural breasts. Silicone gel breast implants have a pliable silicone outer shell that is pre-filled with silicone gel—a cohesive, sticky substance that mimics the feel of human fat and natural breast tissue. Silicone gel implants come in a variety of volumes, consistencies, shapes, slopes, textures and profiles, making them extremely customizable to meet the needs of each patient. The benefits of silicone-gel breast implants include:
- Feel soft, like natural breast tissue
- Look real
- Feel lighter in the body than saline implants
- Are available in various degrees of firmness and projection
- Show less rippling, especially in thin patients
Gummy-bear Breast Implants
A variation of the silicone-gel implant, gummy-bear implants are made of a stable silicone gel that retains its shape, with more fullness in the bottom of the breast that tapers in the upper portion of the breast. Gummy-bear implants can be used in a variety of people, but are especially beneficial for slender, athletic patients or breast reconstruction patients who want a natural-looking and feeling breast enhancement with fullness in the lower portion of the breast. Patients may choose gummy-bear breast implants because the implants:
- Have an anatomically correct breast shape
- Retain their shape
- Feel like natural breast tissue
The gummy bear implants have one significant disadvantage. For them to stay in the proper position, the implants have a rough or textured surface. This prevents them from rotating out of their proper orientation. Recent scientific studies have shown an association between texture surface implants and a rare but serious condition known as ALCL. If you are considering these implants you should have a detailed discussion with your surgeon.
Saline Breast Implants
Saline breast implants may be a good choice for patients with unbalanced natural breasts that require a different volume in each breast to make the breasts appear more symmetrical. Saline breast implants are an empty silicone shell when placed into the breast. Once they are properly positioned, they are filled with a sterile saltwater solution. Dr. Cook can adjust the amount of saline in each implant until the optimal aesthetic is achieved. Saline breast implants tend to look rounder and therefore create fullness in the upper portion of the breast that is noticeable and looks enhanced. Because they are filled with saline, the liquid is free-flowing inside of the shell, making the implants feel less natural and more firm than human fat. Saline implants also are more likely than gel implants to show rippling, especially in thinner patients. Patients may opt for saline breast implants because:
- A smaller incision is used
- The volume can be adjusted until the ideal size is achieved
- Asymmetrical breasts can be filled with different amounts of saline to make the breasts appear closer in size.
- Dramatic volume can be obtained in the upper portion of the breast
- Breasts feel firmer
- Leaks or ruptures are more easily detectable
- Some patients prefer saline implants because they are simply filled with sterile salt water.
Additional Implant Considerations
Silicone gel, gummy-bear and saline breast implants come in a variety of sizes, shapes, textures and profiles to accommodate the needs of every patient. The choices can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to navigate these decisions on your own. Dr. Cook will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these characteristics as they pertain to you and your goals to recommend the breast implant that is ideal for you.
- Implant Size: Silicone gel and gummy-bear breast implants come pre-filled. Saline breast implants are inflated with a sterile saltwater solution after they are inserted into the breast pocket. The volume in a breast implant is measured in cubic centimeters or CCs. We help you visualize how different sizes will look on your body by placing custom breast sizers over your current breasts and by using 3-D simulations of how different implants will make your breasts appear.
- Implant Shape: Breast implants can be round or teardrop shaped. Round implants can give the breast a fuller appearance. Teardrop-shaped implants resemble the natural slope of the breast and give the lower portion of the breast more fullness. Despite this advantage, gummy bear implants have fallen out of favor for many patients because of the association of surface texturing with the rare but serious disorder known as ALCL.
- Implant Texture: Implants come with smooth or textured outer shells. There are advantages to both, based on the amount of current breast tissue you have as well as the type and shape of implant you choose. Smooth implants are recommended for round breast implants so that the implant can turn freely within the breast pocket. Textured implants are preferred for anatomical implants or in patients who are having reconstructive breast augmentation or have minimal natural breast tissue. The textured implant is thought to cause the existing breast tissue to adhere to the implant and help it stay in place. The benefits of surface texture should be compared to the risks of developing ALCL.
- Implant Profile: The profile of an implant refers to how wide the base of the implant is. The implant will protrude more or less depending on the width of the base. In general, implants are classified as high, medium, or low profile. High-profile implants have a narrower base and project outward more than other implants. A high-profile implant creates more volume in the upper part of the breast. While this profile does not produce the most natural-looking breast, some patients prefer this noticeable, voluptuous aesthetic. Low-profile implants have a wider base and are more spread out. A low-profile implant is optimal for patients who have a naturally broad breast base or who seek minimal enhancement. Medium-profile implants are neither dramatic nor flat. They tend to be the most popular choice among our patients because medium-profile implants give the bosom the most natural-looking enhancement.
Schedule a Personalized Consultation
If you want to learn more about breast augmentation and how you can achieve natural feeling breasts that look perfect for you and your physique, call the Whole Beauty Institute at 312-751-2112 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Cook. During your consultation, Dr. Cook will listen to your desires and concerns while taking careful consideration of your current breast tissue, body size, and body shape to recommend the right breast implant for you.