Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants

Hey everyone, it’s Dr. Effie Politis and I just want to compare and contrast saline versus silicone implants, as we know women often undergo breast enhancement surgery to get a breast volume and shape that is more proportional to their body.

So, let’s start out with saline implants: We all know that saline is a fluid that is placed in a silicone shell. It is an “uncontrolled” type fluid, so it doesn’t have a lot of structural support. So it often causes rippling and wrinkling and it stretches out women’s lower-poles.

The advantage of a saline is that if you have a rupture or a tear, your breast will deflate and you can just look in a mirror and see that almost immediately in your body [it] just resorbs the fluid.

Silicone implants that are now in the market are medical grade and they are very cohesive, so they have a nice gel-to-shell ratio and they really help your breast tissue respond nicely. I do enjoy the feel of a silicone implant on my patients because it almost acts as one with their breast tissue. It also provides better structural support in the long term.

However, the issue with silicone implants is that we don’t often recognize a tear. This is why you have to be aware of your body. You have to follow-up with your plastic surgeon at regular surveillance intervals. If you do feel like there is a compromise, most women complain of some breast pain [or] perhaps some scarring around the implant, and we have some imaging modalities to diagnose this, please call our office or DM me on social media if you have any issues with your implants as I am a plastic surgeon with an expertise on breast surgery. Thanks so much.

Do breast implants make you float?

Do breast implants make you float? Will it save you from drowning?

Those are some questions that a few may have wondered about breast implants at some point.

Here’s the thing, breast implants are NOT a floatation device. They will not make you buoyant, nor are they a suitable alternative for a life vest.

“Breast implants are different from the weight of the natural breast, but not by much. While fatty tissue weighs slightly less than water, saline will, as mentioned, weighs roughly the same, and silicone, slightly more. “

“The differences between the natural tissue and a breast implant are minor, and, to the untrained eye, virtually undetectable.”

While breast implants are naturally buoyant (as seen in the video), “when placed in the body, however, the buoyancy of breast implants demonstrated by benchtop testing becomes irrelevant. Post-surgery breasts are no more likely to drown you than they are to save you from drowning.”

So, to answer the question above, no, breast implants will NOT make you float, and it will NOT save you from drowning.

Now, if you know someone who says they want to get large implants to have a built-in life-jacket, you can conclusively tell them to take some swimming lessons instead. 😅

What happens when implants too large for your chest/thorax are placed?


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What happens when implants too large for your chest/thorax are placed?

Implant displacement, stretched-out thin breast tissue, and asymmetry.

This can only be fixed with revision, implant exchange, implant place change, and tissue scaffold for support.

Patients, do your homework. Implants need to be sized through tissue-based planning techniques by a board-certified plastic surgeon.

The 14-step plan is then initiated in OR to prevent contamination of implants leading to capsular contracture. Otherwise, tissue distortion and collapse as well as device malposition and capsular contracture are guaranteed down the road. This ultimately leads to more surgeries and low patient satisfaction.

What is the 14 Point Plan?

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During your consultation, an important question that you need to ask your surgeon is whether or not they follow the 14-Point-Plan. ⁣

What is the 14-Point Plan

The 14-Point-Plan is designed to minimize the number of bacteria that can contaminate breast implants at the time of surgery. It was first published in 2013 and has since been widely adopted all around the world. Bacterial contamination of breast implants at the time of surgery has been shown to cause capsular contracture – hardening, pain, and deformity following breast implant surgery. ⁣

The 14-Point-Plan outlines strategies that can be incorporated into breast implant surgery that reduce the number of bacteria that can contaminate the breast implant surface. ⁣

Here you can see a funnel is being used to place the breast implant into the dissected pocket.⁣

Can I Still Breastfeed with Implants?

You can still breastfeed after breast augmentation surgery. A typical breast implant surgery involves an incision made in the inframammary fold (crease under your breast) to place the implant behind the pectoral muscle which is below the breast tissue. With this procedure, the implant is away from the breast tissue and does not interfere with breast ducts or mammary glands that produce milk. Even in cases where some glandular tissue is removed, enough tissue is left to facilitate milk production after the procedure.

Incision site

If you intend to breastfeed after breast implant surgery, the location of the incision matters. An incision made under the breast, in the armpit, or in the belly button is less likely to damage your milk ducts, nerves or glands.

But an incision made across or around the areola is more likely to damage nerves, affect the sensation of your nipple, interfere with the signals necessary for the letdown reflex, and reduce milk supply. Speak with your plastic surgeon about whether you might still have children so that an incision site is chosen that reduces the need for future adjustments to facilitate breastfeeding.

Implant location

Since breast implants can alter breast tissue, change the sensation of the nipple area, pinch or damage milk ducts, nerves, and milk glands, or reduce milk availability and release from glands, the location of the implant is critical. If you still want to breastfeed after breast implant surgery, you should make this clear to your plastic surgeon. To ensure implants do not interfere with breastfeeding, they can be inserted between your breast tissue and chest muscle or placed under your chest muscle.

Breast implants and milk safety

Breast implants do not make breast milk unsafe for your baby. Saline breast implants are filled with saline water, but there is no significant harm involved if the saline water mixes with breast milk. Likewise, silicone gel-filled implants are not harmful because the gel does not leak outside the implant shell.

There is no need to worry about chemicals in the implants mixing with the milk and making breastfeeding unsafe for your baby. Whatever implants are used, be sure to ask your plastic surgeon if it is safe for you to breastfeed after your implant surgery.

Reason for the surgery

Whether you can breastfeed after breast implant surgery also depends on your reason for the procedure. If your breasts are fairly symmetrical and regularly shaped and you only want a small boost, you are less likely to run into difficulties breastfeeding. But if you have flat or tubular shaped breasts before the procedure, you may already be at risk of low milk supply even without breast implants.

At Politis Plastic Surgery, we generally advise our patients to wait until they have had children before undergoing breast implant surgery. However, we do evaluate and recommend the procedure on a case-by-case basis after a personal consultation with each patient. If we find the procedure ideal for you, even when you still plan to have children, we will ensure that the incision site and implant location have the least possible effect on breastfeeding.

Would you like to enlarge your breasts and enhance your self-confidence but worry that it will affect you in other ways? Consider a private consultation with Dr. Effie Politis to discuss your specific goals and concerns. She will listen and guide you in making an informed decision about the procedure. For more information about breast augmentation and other cosmetic surgery procedures, visit the Politis Plastic Surgery website.

Removing Ruptured Historic Dow Corning Implants

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Removing ruptured historic Dow Corning implants in my patient after 30 years. She presented clinically with hardening of her left breast (capsular contracture). ⁣⁣
Further workup including clinical and imaging examinations revealed extracapsular rupture which means the implant and the shell surrounding were compromised and needed to be removed. ⁣⁣
These implants were taken off the market by the FDA in the 1980s. After the silicone implant moratorium in 1991, extensive premarket approval studies were required by the implant companies prior to the ban being lifted. This has resulted in extensive research and also produced much higher quality silicone cohesive or “gummy” implants with a much more stable shell and gel to shell fill ratio. ⁣⁣
Today’s implants no longer demonstrate “gel bleed” and the increased silicone crosslinking adds stability and a higher safety margin. ⁣⁣
The companies also provide short and long term warranty coverage and as board-certified plastic surgeons, we enter all implantable devices into a databank for better tracking. ⁣⁣

See a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss treatment options regarding breast implants and safety profiles.⁣⁣
#tbt #implantremoval #explant #capsularcontracture #siliconeimplants

What are breast implants?

A breast implant is a medical device (prosthesis) inserted under breast tissue or chest muscle to change the size, contour or shape of the breast. In plastic surgery, breast implants are used to increase breast size, replace breast tissue removed due to trauma or cancer surgery, or to correct severe birth defects and deformities of the breast and the chest wall. There are three main types of breast implants used in plastic surgery: saline implants, silicone implants and structured implants.

Saline breast implants

Saline breast implants are filled with saline solution. They are placed by means of a less invasive surgery through smaller incisions. During the surgery, empty saline implants are inserted into implant pockets and then filled with saline solution. The incisions made for this insertion are smaller and shorter compared to the relatively longer incisions required to place pre-filled implants. Saline breast implants offer an increased breast size with a realistic texture and smooth contour. However, they are associated with cosmetic problems such as the wrinkling of breast skin and the implant being more noticeable to the eye and touch, particularly in women with less breast tissue. For women with enough breast tissue, saline implants produce aesthetically better results.

Silicone gel breast implants

The current models of silicone gel breast implants are filled with a high-strength, highly cohesive silicone gel which reduces the likelihood of filler leakage to the body. These form-stable implants can retain their shape even when their shells are broken. They are also less likely to wrinkle and tend to feel a bit more like natural breasts. However, they require slightly longer incisions for placement and they can spread into the breasts, causing lumps. Breasts augmented using silicone gel implants require regular ultrasound or MRI images for assessing the condition of the implants.

Structured breast implants

Structured implants incorporate both saline and silicone gel implant technologies. They use the saline solution as the filler while having the natural feel of silicone. Their internal structure consists of a series of nested shells that support the upper pole and two lumens (cavities) where the filler material is added. During surgery, a structured implant is inserted while empty and then filled with saline once placed, requiring a smaller incision than a pre-filled implant. And if one of the lumens ruptures after the procedure, it just leaks and empties, leaving the other lumen intact and the implant only partially deflated. This feature allows for ease of removal and replacement.

How are breast implants placed?

When choosing a plastic surgeon for breast implant surgery, finding someone experienced reduces the risk of complications after the procedure. Before the surgery, you will have an appointment with the surgeon for a medical evaluation. Your consultation will allow you to share your goals and expectations with the surgeon, and learn how to prepare for the procedure. Breast implant surgery is usually carried out under general anesthesia. The plastic surgeon makes a cut in the skin below or next to the breast. The implant is positioned either behind your chest muscle or between your breast tissue and chest muscle. The doctor then closes the incision and covers it with a dressing. The procedure usually takes 60 to 90 minutes. You may be able to return home the same day, or you may need to remain in the hospital overnight if the operation is scheduled late in the day. You will be given pain medication to help manage the discomfort after the anesthesia wears off. Your breasts will be covered with compression garments, and drainage tubes will be applied in order to drain the surgical area. Expect to need rest for a few days after the surgery and avoid heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks.

Are breast implants safe?

Breast implants are quite safe and rarely cause issues. Though it is possible for the implants to rupture and leak, they rarely cause medical problems. When saline implants rupture, the salt solution is safely absorbed by the body. For silicone gel implants, the gel either remains in the shell or leaks out following a rupture that results in no obvious symptoms.

How are breast implants maintained?

Breast implants are, by design, not intended to last a lifetime. They may have to be replaced if there are complications or if the breasts change in size and shape over time. If you have silicone gel-filled implants, you will need an MRI scan three years after your implant surgery, and then MRI scans every two years to check for silent ruptures. Ruptured implants should be removed or replaced. At Politis Plastic Surgery, we offer breast implant surgery to enhance the natural appearance of your breasts, create fuller curves, and give you a more aesthetically pleasing shape. We understand that your breasts are a defining feature of your body and enhance your femininity, sexuality and beauty. Through breast augmentation, you can change the size and shape of your breasts and, in turn, your self-confidence.

Are you considering breast augmentation?

Schedule a private consultation today with Dr. Effie Politis and have your questions answered and concerns addressed. For more information on breast implants and breast augmentation, visit the Politis Plastic Surgery website.

“Breast in a Day” Surgical Technique

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Another ‘Breast in a Day‘ case, but executed differently since she has much larger ptotic breasts (sagging breasts). ⁣

She basically had a mastectomy performed through a Wise pattern skin mastopexy and I kept the nipples on an inferiorly based adipodermal flap. ⁣

I reduced her mastectomy envelope, reduced and repositioned her nipple areolar complexed, and placed a cohesive Natrelle Inspira SCF 520cc implant in the prepectoral position with anterior Galaflex sheet. ⁣

“Wise pattern or inverted-T mastopexy has traditionally been used in patients with severe excess of skin relative to breast parenchyma (tissues of the breast essential for functioning) in a patient with severe ptosis. Incisions are made around the areola with extensions for the vertical limbs as in a vertical mastopexy.” (Qureshi, Myckatyn, & Tenenbaum, 2018)⁣

“The Wise-pattern incision addresses any redundant mastectomy skin envelope and avoids excessive and unsightly scarring on the “social” aspect of the breast mound.” (Newman, 2016)⁣

“The pattern allows removal of skin in both vertical and horizontal dimensions allowing for lifting and coning of the breast into a less ptotic shape.” (Todd, 2016)⁣

“Breast in a day” direct-to-implant breast reconstruction

Surgical Technique


Type of Recon: Single Stage Direct to Implant Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy⁣⁣⁣, Galaflex Ravioli construct⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Type of Mastectomy: Nipple Sparing or Nipple Preserving⁣⁣⁣ through inframammary approach⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Implants: Natrelle Inspiration Cohesive SCF 295⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
SPY Elite Imaging⁣⁣⁣⁣
Breast in a day” direct-to-implant breast reconstruction represents an emerging technique in the field of postmastectomy reconstruction and holds appeal, as it shortens the reconstructive process, eliminates the expansion period, and avoids a second operation.
This case was performed with bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy and single stage reconstruction with cohesive implant and Galaflex ravioli construct placed in prepectoral position.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
The advantage of this technique is that it is performed at time of mastectomy whereas traditionally, we place tissue expanders partially under the muscle and expand the patient and then perform a second procedure in 3-6 months where we exchange the expanders for permanent implants. ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Therefore, instead of a staged process, we can achieve stable and long term results with a single stage or direct to implant reconstruction. This requires collaboration with the surgical oncologist, meticulous dissection, scaffold material (Galaflex to stabilize and secure implant in mastectomy pocket ), and cohesive implants, we are able to perform implant based reconstruction in a single stage. ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Also, the implants are typically placed over the muscle, which decreases pain, animation deformity, preserves shoulder/arm strength, and creates a more natural result. ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Please note: These are my individual patients who have provided written photo consent. These photos and posts do not constitute medical advice. Results may vary. See a board certified plastic surgeon for evaluation.⁣⁣⁣⁣

Breast Augmentation With 24-hour Rapid Recovery Method

Here’s a before and after of a primary breast augmentation with 24-hour rapid recovery method. When I was training in my residency at USF, Dr. Tebbetts and Dr. Adams, who pioneered the method, lectured and performed hands-on training demonstrating this method. The 24-hour rapid recovery breast augmentation is a procedure that relies on process oriented steps that maximizes planning, minimizes tissue damage and allows patients to get back on their feet in as little as a few hours after waking up from anesthesia. The recovery time is minimal because the procedure involves no bleeding, minimal tissue damage, and is very gentle and precise. It allows the patient to continue with regular life by that very same evening or the next day. Heavy exercise and intense work should be avoided initially; however, patients are encouraged to get moving right away. Patients who have undergone the 24-hour breast augmentation procedure can manage any lingering pain with over-the-counter painkillers. Will be talking more about this on another Instagram live talk soon. Stay tuned for the annoucement! Have a great week ahead!.