In the UK, there are two main types of breast implants that are commonly used.The outer layer of both types are made of medical- grade silicone, but they are then either filled with silicone or saline. Another type, polyurethane-coated silicone implants, are favoured by some surgeons and it’s thought that they have a lower risk of capsular contracture.
It is important that your breast implant is manufactured by a company that has a good safety record and whose products are rigorously tested. Leaders in this field include Mentor, part of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company, Natrelle, manufactured by Allergan, and Impleo from Nagor, the only UK-based breast implant manufacturer.Your cosmetic breast surgeon may offer implants from a number of different manufacturers as certain implants might be better suited to your needs and requirements.
Generally, breast implants come in two different shapes and a number of different sizes and projections.The surface of the implant also varies, with textured or smooth surfaces available.This gives your cosmetic breast surgeon many hundreds of different implant options and that, coupled with implant placement, allows them to produce an aesthetic result that best fulfils your expectations.
Breast implant warranties
The leading breast implant manufacturers all offer warranties to cosmetic breast surgery patients and your cosmetic surgeon can discuss what the implications of these warranties are in relation to problems developing with your implants.
These are limited warranties in that they do not cover problems relating to surgery and usually just cover implant rupture and, in some cases, capsular contracture.These warranties will not cover you if you are dissatisfied with the size and/or shape of your chosen implants after your procedure.
Each manufacturer differs slightly in terms of what they offer; some only offer like-for-like in terms of implant size replacement, while others will cover a change in implant size.Typically, the warranties cover just the cost of implant, but not the costs of the surgeon or hospital, although some can offer financial compensation towards surgical costs, depending on the circumstances.
In your research of breast implants you may have come across the phrase ‘FDA-approved’.The FDA is the American government body that approves new drugs and devices, such as breast implants. Approval is the result of a very lengthy process of trials and testing, so it does signify good quality and high safety standards. But don’t worry if the implants you’re considering haven’t got FDA approval. As consultant plastic surgeon Mr Marc Pacifico explains: “Gaining FDA approval is hugely expensive so it may not be economically viable at this stage for some implant manufacturers to go for FDA approval but that’s not to say that they aren’t perfectly safe, good implants.”
I keep reading about the rice method. What is this?
There are a number of tools that your cosmetic surgeon will use to help you visualise your size after breast augmentation surgery. These include computer software programs that can show 3D images of different implant sizes and garments, specially designed by the implant manufacturers, that allow women to try on different sizes, so they can better feel and visualise the results.
One clever sizing trick that has been used for many years is the rice method and the great thing is that you can do it in the comfort of your own home. Measure out dry rice – note that 1ml equates to 1cc – and fill an old pair of tights or a thin plastic bag, before placing the ‘implants’ into a larger support or sports bra. Create a couple of different sizes using this method so you can get an idea of how your new breasts may look.
The rice method may not be as ‘scientific’ as the other tools, but it does mean that you can experiment with different types of clothing and get the opinion of friends and family.
Be aware, though, that all these methods can’t give a 100% accurate reflection of your end result.
“Every cosmetic surgeon has their own approach to sizing. I use a bio-dimensional approach which is a very effective way of accurately measuring breasts. In my opinion, an implant should fit a breast very much like a hand fits a glove and, therefore, there will only be a narrow range of implant options that will suit each particular patient.”
Mr Marc Pacifico, Consultant Plastic Surgeon
Click here to see more of The Ultimate Guide to: Cosmetic Breast Surgery.