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What Are the Types of Breast Implants? Saline vs. Silicone, Size, Price

What are the types of breast implants?

The different types of breast implants, which are devices designed to augment a woman’s breast size, include saline, silicone, round, textured, gummy bear, and smooth.

Breast implants are U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved devices that are fitted into your breasts to enhance their look, shape, and feel. Apart from fat transfer to the breasts, implants are used by hundreds of women each year for breast augmentation and reconstruction procedures.

There are two basic types of breast implants:

  • saline breast implants, and
  • silicone breast implants.

What type is suitable for you depends upon your age, the type of look you desire, the cost of implants, the reason for getting the implants (such as post-cancer surgery), and the maintenance required for the implants.

Besides those two, the other types of breast implants include: 

  • Saline breast implants: These are filled with saline water and offer a firm feel to the breast.
    • If they leak, they will collapse and the saline water that comes out gets absorbed by the body.
    • The FDA approves saline breast implants for use in women who are 18 years old and older.
    • Structured saline breast implants are a type of saline implants that contain an inner structure to make them feel more natural.
  • Silicone breast implants: These contain silicone that feels more like fat, in terms of consistency.
    • Most women feel that these implants give them a natural feel of the breast tissue.
    • Silicone breast implants do not collapse if they leak but they do carry risks if they rupture. Hence, you should regularly follow up with your doctor to check the functioning of the implants.
    • You may need to undergo tests such as a mammogram or ultrasonography (USG) of the breasts.
  • Gummy bear breast implants: Also known as form-based implants, these are a type of silicone implant that contains more silicone gel than traditional silicone implants.
  • Round breast implants: These are more likely to make the breasts appear fuller than form-stable implants (implants that maintain their shape or form when cut because they contain thicker silicone gel).
    • After deciding to go for any of the above implants, you will also have to look for the type of outer shell you want the implant to be in.
  • Smooth breast implants: These have an outer silicone rubber shell that is very smooth and soft.
    • Because they do not attach to the surrounding breast tissue, they are usually freely moveable.
  • Textured breast implants: These have an outer silicone rubber shell with a rough and irregular surface.
    • Because of their attachment to the tissue capsule around them, they are less likely to move.

How do you choose a breast implant size?

A breast implant is measured in terms of its volume in cubic centimeters. Selecting the size of a breast implant based on your bra cup size is an inaccurate way. Consult your doctor on how you can better determine which size is best for you.

Implants come in varying profiles of the same volume, which changes their shape.

  • Your doctor will take measurements of your breasts during the consultation.
  • They will explain to you about the different sizes or volumes and ask you the type of breast look you desire.
  • They will also inform you of the benefits and risks of the different fillers, styles, shapes, and surfaces of the implants.
  • You will work together with the doctor while they choose the best one for you.

The good news about breast implants is that the outcome for most women who get them is typically good.

How much does breast implant surgery cost?

As per the 2019 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of breast implant surgery is $3,947.

  • This average cost does not include the cost of anesthesia, operating room facilities, or other related expenses (lab work).

Overall expenses can be anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000, which vary based on the:

  • type of implant,
  • location of the hospital, and
  • experience of the plastic surgeon.

In costlier locations such as San Francisco, overall expenses can reach up to $12,000. Please consult your plastic surgeon’s office to determine the total cost.

Saline implants are cheaper than silicone implants. Their prices can differ by $300 to $1,000. Silicone implants also have higher maintenance costs.

Read your insurance policy carefully. Because breast implant surgery is a cosmetic procedure, your insurance most likely will not cover it. Many plastic surgeons offer financing options for breast implants, so ask your doctor’s office about that.

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Plastic Surgery: Before and After Photos of Cosmetic Surgeries
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Medically Reviewed on 10/18/2021

References

Medscape Medical Reference

American Society of Plastic Surgeons

https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/breast-augmentation/implants

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