Each year, hundreds of thousands of women undergo breast implant surgery, a plastic surgery procedure designed to improve the appearance of the breasts. Also called breast augmentation surgery, most women undergo the procedure to enlarge breasts that are naturally small, though some have it to correct disproportionate breasts or repair breast deformities.
In surgical practice, for the reconstruction of a breast, the tissue expander device is a temporary breast prosthesis used to form and establish an implant pocket for the future permanent breast implant. For the correction of male breast defects and deformities, the pectoral implant is the breast prosthesis used for the reconstruction and the aesthetic repair of a man's chest wall (see: gynecomastia and mastopexy).
There are four general types of breast implants, defined by their filler material: saline solution, silicone gel, structured and composite filler. The saline implant has an elastomer silicone shell filled with sterile saline solution during surgery; the silicone implant has an elastomer silicone shell pre-filled with viscous silicone gel; structured implants use nested elastomer silicone shells and two saline filled lumen; and the alternative composition implants featured miscellaneous fillers, such as soy oil, polypropylene string, etc. Composite implants are typically not recommended for use anymore and, in fact, their use is banned in the United States and Europe due to associated health risks and complications.
Deciding how much fat to transfer to a patient’s buttocks is a decision made by the surgeon that takes safety, cosmetic result, and patient’s goals into account. I recommend reviewing your goals of surgery, by showing photos, or performing Vectra imaging in office, with your surgeon and listening to their recommendations for the safest, best-looking results possible.
If you’re hoping your breast implants will be covered by insurance because of something like asymmetry or changes after pregnancy, you probably need to explore other financing options. Breast implants are considered cosmetic surgery, so insurance companies typically won’t cover them. However, “Breast Implants are covered if they are being used as part of reconstruction after breast cancer or mastectomy,” says Houston plastic surgeon Dr. C. Bob Basu in a RealSelf Q&A.
The breast cancer studies Cancer in the Augmented Breast: Diagnosis and Prognosis (1993) and Breast Cancer after Augmentation Mammoplasty (2001) of women with breast implant prostheses reported no significant differences in disease-stage at the time of the diagnosis of cancer; prognoses are similar in both groups of women, with augmented patients at a lower risk for subsequent cancer recurrence or death. Conversely, the use of implants for breast reconstruction after breast cancer mastectomy appears to have no negative effect upon the incidence of cancer-related death. That patients with breast implants are more often diagnosed with palpable—but not larger—tumors indicates that equal-sized tumors might be more readily palpated in augmented patients, which might compensate for the impaired mammogram images. The ready palpability of the breast-cancer tumor(s) is consequent to breast tissue thinning by compression, innately in smaller breasts a priori (because they have lesser tissue volumes), and that the implant serves as a radio-opaque base against which a cancerous tumor can be differentiated.
After reviewing the medical data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that TDA-induced breast cancer was an infinitesimal health-risk to women with breast implants, and did not justify legally requiring physicians to explain the matter to their patients. In the event, polyurethane-coated breast implants remain in plastic surgery practice in Europe and in South America; and no manufacturer has sought FDA approval for medical sales of such breast implants in the U.S.