Breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure to be carried out in the UK. With over 10,000 breast augment procedures carried out in 2011, it is estimated that between 5 and 10 million individuals have had the surgery since it was first made available in 1962.
Why choose breast augmentation
Individuals may choose to have breast implants for either reconstruction or cosmetic purposes.
Following a mastectomy whereby the breast is removed in order to treat breast cancer, an individual may choose to have reconstructive surgery to return their breasts to their pre-mastectomy appearance.
On the other hand, individuals may choose to have breast implants for cosmetic reasons which include;
– the desire for larger breasts
– the desire for firmer breasts
– the correction of asymmetrical breasts
Types of breast implants
The aim of saline implants was to allow the procedure to be carried out through a smaller surgical incision. To allow for a smaller incision, an empty breast implant is inserted into the implant pockets and filled with sterile saline solution after the implant is in place.
Silicone gel implants
As medical research developed, so did the manufacture of silicone implants – consequently, there are now five generations of silicone breast implants.
– The first generation of silicone implants was referred to as the Cronin-Gerow implant. At this stage, the implant was a silicone-gel filled rubber envelope in the shape of a teardrop. In order to reduce movement of the implant once in place, a fastener-patch was commonly used to affix the implant to the implant pocket.
– As the implant developed, the second generation saw the introduction of both a thinner shell and silicone-gel filler which was said to improve the functionality and aesthetics of the implant. However, as a result of a thinner shell, these implants proved fragile with an increase in ruptures and silicone bleeds.
– Developing from the weaknesses of the second generation implants, the third and fourth generation replaced the thin implant shells with elastomer-coated shells that reduced the possibility of ruptures. Similarly, a thicker filler gel was introduced into their design as a way to decrease the likelihood of gel bleeds.
– The final generation of silicone implants saw further development of the silicone filler – creating an implant filled with a semi-solid gel in an attempt to eliminate the occurrence of gel bleeds.