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What are breast implants?

By August 24, 2017February 28th, 2023No Comments

You may be very aware of ‘breast implants’ and what they are for since they are frequently mentioned in magazines and everything surrounding celebrity culture. You may also be wanting breast enlargement surgery or require implants for a medical reason, but are not sure what exactly breast implants are and how they work.

A breast implant is a prosthesis which is used as part of surgery to change the size, contour or shape of a female breast.

Types of Breast Implants

In general, there are three types of breast implant. The different types are defined by the material used as the filler; saline solution, silicone gel or composite gel. Today there are onlt two types that are widely used, which are the saline solution and the silicone gel ones.

The saline implant has an ‘elastomer silicone’ shell which is filled with a sterile saline solution during surgery. Since the shell is filled during the surgery, it is considered a less invasive method of breast enhancement surgery. This is because a smaller incision is made into the breast to put the empty breast implant in. As a bonus, the incision scar will be a lot smaller and will consequently heal more easily. However, this implant type is more likely to cause cosmetic complications in terms of rippling and the wrinkling of the breast-envelope skin, and problems of implant being noticeable to the eye and to the touch. Unfortunately for naturally smaller breasted women or those who have had mastectomy’s, these complications are more likely to occur in women with smaller amounts of breast tissue.

The silicone implant has this elastomer silicone implant shell as well, but is pre-filled with viscous silicone gel before the surgery takes place.  With these implants, the incision is larger and will be more visible. This is the case because the breast implant is pre filed the cut will have to larger to be able to insert the implant surgically into the breast.

The alternative third type of implant, the one filled with composite gel can feature miscellaneous fillers such as soy oil, polypropylene string etc. These implants are not recommended for use in breast surgery now. In fact, it has actually been banned in certain places, including Europe and the United States of America. This ban was due to the all the associated health risks and various complications it has caused on patients in the past.

Why do people want to get breast implants?

Breast implants are used for both cosmetic and medical reasons.


Some women find they are extremely conscious of the size of their breasts, whether that be there are too big or too small according to their own opinion. For cosmetic reasons, breast implants can be used to increase the size of the breasts taking the size from, for example, an A cup to a DD cup.

Some women actually have a medical condition called ‘Mircromastia’ in which a woman’s breasts do not fully develop after puberty. While there is no defined size for a woman’s breasts with micromastia, since breast size varies so much anyway, it is indicated by comparison to average breast sizes and the woman’s own self-perception. Women who suffer from micromastia often have psychological side effects to do with how they feel about their breasts and bodies in general. Therefore, breast implants can be used to improve a woman’s confidence and mental state surrounding her figure.

It is not uncommon to have one breast larger than the other, in fact, the majority of women have this to some degree. Some cases of asymmetrical breasts can be quite extreme with one breast being one cup size, and the other a completely different cup size. Where the size difference of the breasts is extreme or not, many women who undergo breast surgery to have implants put in, do so because they want their breasts to look identical.

Some women find that they feel their breasts drop too much and are not happy about it, this is particularly common after having breast-fed or been pregnant. Breast implants are used to get back a ‘pre-baby body’. Some women are confused about mothering life after having breast implants. But it is important to know that having breast implants will not impact the health of the baby, should a woman with implants become pregnant again, and it will not affect her ability to nurse.


In some cases, breast implants are used for cosmetic reasons, but a lot of the time they are requested on the basis of medical grounds. Women who have had a mastectomy or double-mastectomy because of breast cancer or another type of serious health condition often op for breast implant surgery to regain their full and healthy figure as it was before. Most women in this situation want reconstruction surgery rather than to make their breasts bigger than they were before, they just want them back the way they were. However, some do take the opportunity to gain larger or even smaller breasts. This type of surgery includes the placement of an implant, it also includes skin grafting and the construction of a nipple and areola.

In the UK, you may be able to qualify for free breast implants if it is for a medical reason. It may be due to losing one of both breasts to a serious illness such as breast cancer or it may be because you suffer from severe psychological anguish to do with your breasts that may be affecting your life completely, but the latter is rare to qualify for. However, any psychological damage left by an illness such as cancer or an accident that has affected your breasts is a means for qualification for free breast implants on the NHS. Nevertheless, if are having breast surgery done on the NHS is is usually only offered as a reconstruction surgery rather than an enlargement or anything of the like.

For an honest personal account, along with advice surrounding breast implants, watch this video below for more information from someone who has gone through the surgery!

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