Malcolm Rude, M.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Implant Types

There are several different types of breast implants. Implants can be differentiated on a couple of different levels. The first most obvious level is their content. Breast implants can either be filled with saline or silicone. The actual shell of the implant is the same. There are pros and cons of each. Saline implants are a little more affordable. They do however have more a little more wrinkling and rippling which is where the implant is visible through the skin. They also don’t feel quite as nature as silicone. Patients rate their implants in look and feel lower than patients with silicone implants. The saline that I use for the implants is directly from an IV bag. Rupture detection is quite easy with a saline implant because it just goes flat.

Silicone implants are by far the more popular implant. Silicone implants are nothing like the “old” silicone implants that were taken off the market in 1991. That silicone was a lot thinner, closer to the consistency of motor oil. Now, the standard silicone implants are significantly more viscous. They are approximately the thickness of a pudding. The nice part about that, should they rupture, the operation to exchange them, is nothing like the old one. In the old days the silicone would leak into the tissue and it was very challenging to get out. Comparatively, the exchange operating is very simple. From a safety point of view the silicone implants are completely safe. They have been exonerated from what they were accused of in the 90’s.

The newest generation of silicone implants have been coined “gummy bear implants”. The gummy bear or form stable implants are thicker and closer in consistency to a gummy bear. For certain ladies this does pose an advantage. It can maintain the height of the implant accentuating upper pole fullness slightly better. I regularly put in “gummy bear” implants but I try to discuss with the patient if this will actually be an advantage for them based on their dimensions and size goals. This is all done as part of an initial breast augmentation consultation.

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