Breast implant fillers: what are my options?

Breast implants are one of the most popular services in my office – and they are one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgical procedures in the U.S. According to a recent article from Elle magazine, 300,000 women get breast implants each year. And, when you think about it, it’s understandable. No matter the reason for having the procedure – from lack of self-confidence to medical concerns — my patients walk out of the office and onto the streets of New York City and Long Island with fuller, firmer and more-proportioned looks that often lead to improved self-esteem.

It’s interesting to understand that implants are nothing new. In fact, they have been around for quite some time. As Elle’s “brief history of boob jobs” notes, they actually date back more than 100 years — when paraffin, fat, ivory, wool, and ox cartilage were some dominant filler substances. Yikes! Things (thankfully) changed in the 1960s when silicone and saline implants came to the forefront. Since then, they have been the go-to fillers for patients and docs alike. Still, each comes with unique benefits and drawbacks.

As the article explains (and as I know after many years of breast implant surgeries), silicone is one of the most realistic feeling implant options on the market – and for that reason, it’s one of the most popular picks among women looking to increase their cup size. But there are some drawbacks. For example, if a breast sustains damage – or if the implant does not age correctly – leaks can occur, leading to silicone seepage in the body that is hard to detect without regular MRIs. While the FDA has approved silicone implants, many women remain uneasy about this long-term possibility. Alternatively, the article explains, many women view saline implants as a safer option because they are made with sterile salt water. But, because they don’t feel quite as natural as silicone, that peace of mind has a trade-off.

The great news is that even these already minimal problems are diminishing with time. As the plastic surgery field has advanced, breast implant techniques have greatly improved. Today you aren’t limited to silicone vs. saline alone. In fact, you have seemingly endless options. Hybrids and variations on traditional models have changed the way we think about implants. Elle highlights a couple of those leading advances, such as “gummy bear” silicone that sticks together and leads to less leaks, and the Ideal Implant, which consists of a series of saline-filled chambers and shells that make the implant feel more natural. And I highly recommend the Naturelle 410 implant, which is shaped to better match a woman’s natural curves.

In the end, the choice is yours. I work hard to stay on the cutting edge of implant innovations, and I’d love to set up a consultation with you discuss your options. We’ll go over everything from placement and incision point to pre- and post-surgery care to make sure you feel great about your selection!