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Breast Implants Explained: A Glossary from The Experts

The decision to go under the knife for breast augmentation surgery is never one to be taken lightly. The most important thing is that anyone considering surgery is fully aware of all options available to them and all potential outcomes.

September 23, 2016

Understanding the terms that will be thrown around freely in your initial consultation will help you to understand what is happening. We’ve put together this glossary of popular breast augmentation terms to help you understand the recent developments in the industry.

Saline/Silicone: These are the two types of implant. Silicone is a gel-like substance, while saline implants are filled with a medical-grade sterile salt water. The incision site for saline implants is much smaller than with silicone.

Cohesivity: When silicone implants were first introduced, the material used was much less cohesive, meaning that it was more prone to leaks, fractures and ruptures. By making the silicone filling more cohesive, cosmetic surgeons created the ‘gummy bear’ implant. The filling is far more cohesive, meaning that the implant could be cut in half and it would hold together in two halves.

Fill Ratio: In recent years, some patients have been leaning towards implants with a higher fill ratio. This often results in less rippling, particularly in thinner patients when the implants are placed above the muscle. For a more teardrop shape, patients can opt for a low fill implant which will be teardrop shaped when standing and round when lying down, much like natural breast tissue.

Rippling: This is a side effect that can only happen with saline implants which are either overfilled, under-filled or when there is poor tissue coverage or the implant has been placed over the muscle.

Drop and Fluff: Immediately after surgery, many implants can sit quite high in the chest and patients report waiting from them to ‘drop and fluff’. This is a settling process that happens after surgery.

Round/ Teardrop: Implants will often be described as either round or teardrop shaped. Women seeking a more natural look will often opt for teardrop shaped implants, as some feel that the round implants look less natural. Round implants are often more suitable for women hoping for larger implants.

Smooth/Textured: Textured implants were first introduced to reduce capsular contracture which can occur with smooth implants. This is a form of scar tissue which can form around breast implants and cause the implants to harden as they are contacted. This will often require surgical correction, and may lead to a cosmetic surgery claim. However, many surgeons still prefer the smooth implants.

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