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Which breast implants feel the most natural? Plus 6 other questions you have about breast implants

February 24, 2022 - Rhys Branman, MD

Woman in Bra With Natural Breast Implants Following Breast Augmentation

The more questions you ask about breast augmentation before surgery, the more likely you are to have a satisfying experience that meets your expectations—so we encourage it! That’s why today, Little Rock breast augmentation surgeon Dr. Rhys Branman is answering some lesser-discussed questions about how different implants feel, age limits on breast implants (spoiler: there are none!), and breast implant materials.

Which type of breast implants feel the most natural?

Silicone gel-filled breast implants are considered to have a more natural feel than saline-filled implants. This is because the viscosity of the gel feels more akin to breast tissue, where saline-filled implants have a more “sloshy” feel. Silicone implants are also lightweight, while saline implants tend to feel heavier than natural breast tissue.

When you have a breast surgery consultation, you will be given the opportunity to feel various types of implants and assess the difference for yourself. While we and most of our patients prefer silicone gel-filled implants for their natural feel, saline implants are sometimes recommended for surgical or health reasons: saline implants can be filled after insertion through a smaller incision, and if a saline implant ruptures, it is immediately visible, alerting you that treatment is necessary.

Silicone-gel filled implants feel more like natural breast tissue, and are widely popular. Still, many patients prefer saline.

Do breast implants feel different than real breasts to touch?

Yes, breasts with implants do feel somewhat different from natural breasts, but the natural breast tissue you have to cover the implant will help them to feel more natural. Many patients prefer an under-the-muscle implant placement so that more of your tissues, including part of the pectoral muscle, cover the implant, allowing it to better feel and move like a natural part of your body. If detectability is a primary concern, silicone-gel filled implants, which have a similar feel to natural breast tissue, will be your best choice.

Proportion also matters: larger breast implants that stretch the limits of your tissues will be more clearly discernible than those that provide a more modest boost of a few cup sizes. To help you find your best size at Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center, we will guide you towards a range of implant choices that we know will feel natural and look proportionate on your figure. You will then have the chance to try on sizers to assess which exact size and style of breast implants will achieve your personal appearance goals.

What is the safest breast implant material?

Today’s smooth-shelled breast implants, whether filled with saline or silicone gel, are very safe implants. Implants with a textured surface are linked in rare cases to BIA-ALCL, a type of lymphoma, and have largely fallen out of favor. Since we can reach most patients’ goals with smooth-shelled implants, most of the implants we place at Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center are smooth, round saline- or silicone gel-filled implants, which have a very safe profile and which we find provide natural-looking results.

While both saline and silicone implants are safe, some patients who are concerned with the possibility of a “silent rupture” may prefer saline implants: if a saline implant ruptures, the saline leaks out (safely) and the implant visibly deflates. If a silicone implant ruptures, you may not experience symptoms at all—this is called a “silent rupture.

How do I know if my breast implant is leaking?

If you have saline implants, it is very easy to tell if your implant is leaking: the implant will deflate. If you have silicone gel-filled implants, a leak can be detected using either magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound scans. The FDA recommends that patients undergo breast implant scans to check for rupture after they have had their implants for 5-6 years, and every 2-3 years thereafter.

Breast implants are not lifetime devices, and some check-ups are recommended to make sure they are still performing well.

Can a mammogram break a breast implant?

No, a mammogram is very unlikely to break an implant in the hands of an experienced, trained mammographer. Today’s durable implants are able to withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure, and millions of women within the age range where mammograms are recommended have implants.

If you have implants and are planning a mammogram, be sure to let everyone know that you have breast implants—both the facility and the technologist performing your mammograms—and they will be sure to get special Eklund displacement views of your breasts. This requires a different position of your breast tissue during the screening, and an understanding of how to adjust the pressure for the mammogram.

It is wise, however, to do your research and make sure the team performing your mammogram is experienced with breast implants. While the FDA recommends that radiologic technologists have experience with breast implants and requires it as part of training, experience varies, so you may want to talk with the mammography facility and your technologist (once you arrive at your appointment) to confirm the mammographer’s experience with implants. There is no harm or shame in asking how many patients with breast implants they have scanned.

How old do you have to be to have breast implants?

For breast augmentation, the FDA approves saline breast implants to be used in patients 18 and older, and silicone breast implants in patients 22 and older; for breast reconstruction, both kinds of implant are approved for use in patients of any age. However, this does not mean you cannot get breast implants for augmentation if you are younger—you can, and it is simply considered an “off-label” use. That said, it is important that your breasts have finished developing before you have a cosmetic breast procedure.

Is 50 too old to get breast implants?

There is no upper age limit for when you can get a breast augmentation. As skin and tissues tend to lose elasticity and sag more with age (not to mention after having children or losing weight), it is quite common for patients to seek a boost with breast implants at 50 or older.

Choose Dr. Rhys Branman for your breast augmentation in Little Rock

Dr. Rhys Branman and the friendly Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center team will be here for you every step of the way in your breast augmentation journey—from choosing your implant size and placement to having a successful, healthy recovery. With over 30 years of cosmetic surgery experience, Dr. Branman has the skills and experience to help you achieve the look that you want safely. Schedule a consultation today by calling 501.227.0707 or contacting us online.

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