Silicone and saline are the two implant types most commonly used in augmentation mammaplasty. Silicone implants feel more like natural breasts than saline ones. However, if a saline implant ruptures, the saline is naturally absorbed by the body, whereas if a silicone implant has an extracapsular rupture (a rupture to the outer capsule), silicone filler leaks into the body, possibly resulting in inflammatory nodules or enlarged lymph glands.
Implants are placed behind each breast, underneath either breast tissue or the chest-wall muscle. The procedure lasts 1 to 2 hours, and is typically performed with general anesthesia, although local anesthesia combined with a sedative may be used. Incisions are made in inconspicuous places (in the armpit, in the crease on the underside of the breast, or around the areola) to minimize scar visibility. The breast is then lifted, creating a pocket into which the implant is inserted.
Advantages of implant placement behind the chest-wall muscle include a possible reduced risk of capsular contracture (hardening of scar tissue around implant), and less interference during mammograms. Disadvantages include the possible need for drainage tubes, and a longer recovery period. Advantages of implant placement beneath breast tissue include that the breasts move more naturally as the patient uses her chest muscles, and that slight breast sagging is corrected.
Other types of implants include “gummy bear,” round, smooth and textured.