If you do a quick search online, you will be astounded to see how many sites, chat rooms, and forum topics were created specifically to discuss breast implants. There are so many aspects of the breast implant surgery to discover and debate that this topic will probably be always of great interest. How can you benefit from the mammary implants? Breast implants can be used in the following situations: Breast augmentation: this procedure is performed to increase the size and the projection of the breasts. It is usually performed only on mature women who have fully developed breasts. Breast reconstruction: this procedure is performed to recreate the shape and size of the breast after a mastectomy surgery, extensive wounds or trauma that resulted in a complete or partial loss of breast tissue. It is also a useful method to correct a birth defect in the breast area. Replacement or revision surgery: these procedures are executed to replace an implant inserted previously or to correct the results of a reconstruction or breast augmentation surgery that had unsatisfactory results for the patient. When breast implants are definitely not a solution: The mammary implants are discouraged for women who: Have cancer and have not received appropriate treatment Have an active infection in any are of their body Are pregnant or breastfeeding at the moment of the surgery About the breast implants: We have breast implants with silicone gel and saline solution. The implants come in a multitude of shapes, surface textures, and dimensions. The shell of the implant can be textured or smooth. Choosing the right type of implants for your breast surgery is highly dependent on your desired results from the surgery as well as your present anatomy and the recommendations of your plastic surgeon. Aside from these, there are a few other factors to consider before undergoing breast surgery with mammary implants: Life with breast implants Regardless of it is a breast augmentation procedure or a breast reconstruction intervention, you will need to understand that the mammary implants don’t necessarily involve just one surgery. Most probably, additional visits to the doctor’s office will be required, and in some cases, even additional surgical interventions during the patient’s life. Mammary implants don’t have a life warranty, nor are they free of risks and potential complications that could damage the implants. Several modifications in a patient’s breasts after the implant surgery are irreversible and can’t be eliminated. If you decide later on to remove the implant or implants, it is possible to have certain unattractive changes in your breasts, such as wrinkling, sagging skin, folds in the breasts. The breast implant surgery does not affect the patient’s ability to produce milk for breastfeeding. However, breast implants won’t be able to prevent breast sagging, which usually occurs after a pregnancy. This is why it is advisable to get implants after you are done with childbearing because it may reverse the results. Getting a routine mammography can become more difficult if you have mammary implants because it may affect the mammogram results. The patient might require additional tests, which translates into more time and money spent doing this and more exposure to radiation. The steps of the breast implant surgery: Choosing a plastic surgeon When choosing the right experienced surgeon to do your breast implant surgery, you will need to ask yourself and your surgeon the following questions: How many breast augmentation procedures with breast implants or reconstructive procedures with mammary implants does the plastic surgeon perform every year? How many years has the surgeon been performing breast implant surgery? What is the most frequent post-op complication has the plastic surgeon encountered? What is the most frequent revision surgery does the plastic surgeon perform in the case of breast implants? What is the most common type of intervention does the surgeon perform in regards to a revision surgery? Once you have decided on an experienced plastic surgeon that you feel comfortable with and trust, you should discuss the following surgical options with the surgeon: – The size of the implants Generally speaking, if you want a bigger desired dimension of the breast, your plastic surgeon will consider a larger implant. However, the surgeon will need to evaluate the existing breast tissue to be able to determine if it can sufficiently cover the mammary implants. If the dimension of the implant is too big for the existing available tissue, the plastic surgeon should warn you about the potential visibility of the breast implants on the sides of your breasts. Also, choosing mammary implants that are too big for your anatomy can result in more surgical complications. Another important thing to mention is how big breast implants can accentuate the effects of gravitation, and can even lead to early breast sagging. – The texture of the implant’s surface The implants come in smooth or textured shell surfaces. The textured shell was designed to ensure a hard area where the collagen tissue of the body can interact with the implant in order to reach a more natural shape. – The shape, projection and height of the breast implant The plastic surgeon will be able to offer you mammary implants with a cohesive gel, with a round shape, or a contour profile shape. The round implants are available for different projections and the contour profile shapes are available for different heights. – The level of silicone gel cohesiveness The silicone gels used for the breast implants are cohesive polymers, not liquid. While they are soft and seem fluid, they have a unitary aspect. The implants come in three cohesive levels and the patients can feel them and choose the one that they are more comfortable with. The surgeon can also help the patient in choosing the most suitable implants for their case. – Palpability The breast implants tend to be obvious and easier to feel in certain situations. This can be the case if you have textured implants, too large implants, a subglandular placement of the implant, and lack of adequate skin and tissue to properly cover the implant. – The placement of the breast implants The breast implants can be placed partially under the pectoral muscle, on top of the muscle, or under the mammary glands. The pros and cons of each implant placement should be discussed with the plastic surgeon. The submuscular placement can make the surgical intervention and the recovery period lengthier, and it can also be more painful. The revision procedures in the case of submuscular placement are also more difficult to perform, compared to the subglandular position. The advantages of the submuscular placement are that the implants are less obvious and more difficult to feel. Moreover, it is easier to perform and interpret a mammogram with a submuscular placement than the subglandular one. With that said, the subglandular positioning means a faster surgical procedure and recovery period. It is also easier to perform revision surgery in the case of subglandular placement of the breast implants. While this surgical technique is simpler, this placement also means that the implants are more visible and easy to feel. The placement can be challenging when getting a mammogram because it is more difficult to interpret the results. – The incision placement There are multiple options for the incisions placement too, and you should discuss the pros and cons of each method with your plastic surgeon. There are three common locations where the incisions are made: under the arms (axillar level), around the nipple (periareolar), or under the breasts (inframammary). While these three are the most commonly performed incisions for breast implant surgery, we should also mention a fourth method: the implant can be inserted through the navel with the help of an endoscopic technique. However, this technique has not yet been examined and studied thoroughly, hence, it is not recommended. The axillar incision: the incision is more visible than in the case of the periareolar incision. However, this lowers the risks of it affecting the patient’s ability to breastfeed. Periareolar incision: this incision is probably the easiest to hide, and results in better wound healing. However, breastfeeding can be a problem after the periareolar incision compared to the other two incision types. Inframammary incision: the incision might be more visible than the others, but the benefit is that it can be hidden in the natural folds of the body. Conclusion There are plenty of reasons to consider mammary implants, which can be due to aesthetic reasons or personal ones. Reconstructive surgery on breasts can offer the patient much more than just a nice appearance. For example, for women who have gone through a mastectomy, the breast surgery helps their emotional state by making them feel that they have finally won the fight against breast cancer. Breast implant surgery can also help you correct breast asymmetries and congenital defects, which will help you become more confident as well as offer your body an improved image and a more proportionate body frame. In my experience, each patient has her own set of reasons for considering the breast implant surgery. What is important is for each and every one of you to have yours clear in mind before making an appointment with the plastic surgeon.