Breast implant is a prosthetic surgery to improve the size of the bust. This surgery entails the insertion of some foreign material, called implants into the region of the breasts. These implants are generally used by women who wish to create a larger bust size. Breast implants can increase the cup size by one or two sizes. However, breast implants are also used by men who undergo gender reassignment surgeries to females. The kind of surgery that uses breast implants to increase the bust size is called as breast augmentation surgery.
There are several actresses in Hollywood who have undergone breast implants and are quite open about the fact. Breast implants are not looked upon today as something out of the ordinary; they are fast becoming a viable (and most effective) option for women who wish to increase the size of their bust.
Evolution of Breast Implants
There have been evidences of breast implants from as far back as 1895. Women around that time were implanted with adipose tissue (the tissue which makes the breasts) from the breasts of other women. Hence, strictly speaking, it was not a breast implant surgery.
The modern form of breast implants, which introduces foreign materials within the breasts, can be said to have evolved from the 1960s. The earliest implants were thick-shelled, not too flexible and most importantly, they were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. There have been many changes in the shapes and the materials of the breast implants. Current implants are quite flexible and contain harmless substances. These implants have good cohesion, i.e. they ‘stick’ well to the inner muscles and there is no problem of their shaking from their position.
Shapes of Breast Implants
The shape of the breast implants are very important when you consider how well they will fit within the breasts. Two shapes of breast implants have been used:-
(i) Round breast implants
Round shaped breast implants fit circularly into the breasts. They have been popularly used until much recently, but they have had their problems. Round shaped implants lend an artificial look to the breasts. Since they uplift the breasts from all sides, they look and feel artificial.
(ii) Teardrop shaped breast implants
Today, the teardrop shaped breast implants are gaining wide popularity and are slowly phasing out the round shaped ones. They are naturally somewhat teardrop shaped in profile, and hence, these implants complement the natural looks of the breasts. Teardrop shaped breast implants need to be implanted very carefully into the pocket created by the surgeon, and they must have a good cohesion to fit with the underlying muscles and tissues of the breasts. Teardrop shaped breast implants will look very unnatural if they move within the breasts, hence they need to be implanted by a highly qualified surgeon. Teardrop breast implants are also more expensive than round breast implants.
Types of Breast Implants
There have been several types of breast implanting materials used since the ages. The following is a chronological list of the materials in use throughout the decades.
(i) The earliest breast implants in the 1960s were round and not so flexible. They used a filling of a thick and viscous gel. Though they were teardrop in shape, it was difficult implanting them, since they contained a Dacron shell which is not a cohesive material. The implants could move within the breasts and cause asymmetry.
(ii) The 1970s saw the introduction of polyurethane as the shell material, which is more cohesive than Dacron. Also, the filling was done using a less viscous gel, which lent better flexibility to the implants.
(iii) The latest types of breast implants were introduced in the early 1990s. These were made to resemble the anatomic shape of the breasts as much as possible. The cohesive capacity of these implants was improved, to reduce problems such as abnormalities occurred due to the movement of the implants.
The present implants are of two chief types:-
- Silicone gel implants – These implants contain silicone gel as the filling material within a silicone shell. Their use has been discontinued recently owing to studies which show that they may cause breast cancers.
- Saline filled implants – These are the most modern implants. They contained a saline gel filled within a silicone shell. These implants are the safest yet. They also complement the natural breast shapes much better than any other implants.
How are Breast Implants Inserted
Inserting a breast implant accurately is a matter of surgical skill, and must be done only by a qualified surgeon. The implant is done by making an incision on the breast. The incision is ideally made just below the breast from where it will be barely visible later. The surgeon then makes space between the pectoral muscles and the overlying adipose tissue to form a pocket. It is within this pocket that the implant is inserted.
There were many complaints about breast implants earlier. The chief among them were:-
- The implants would move after a while and cause irregularities in the shape of the breasts;
- The implants would lose their content over time and cause the breasts to sag;
- Some implants were also deemed to be carcinogenic.
However, modern surgical science has put these complaints to rest. Implants today are quite a normal surgery, which requires little aftercare. Many women all over the world are gladly shedding their inhibitions and opting for breast implants to give them a better figure.
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