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Are augmented breasts different to touch?

Q:

I am considering breast augmentation surgery but I am concerned with the result. Do they feel same as natural breasts or is it noticeable at the first touch that they are not natural?
 

A:

There are a lot of factors that go into the answer of this question.  The fill material can make a difference such as saline versus silicone.  Generally the feel and look of silicone is more natural than that of saline.  I certainly have patients that you would not know by touching their breast that they have implants at all.  If someone has a lot of their own breast tissue, then the feel of saline versus silicone is not as important because you are not feeling the material as much and more just your natural breast tissue.  So how much of your own breast tissue you have is very important also.  The less the breast tissue that you have, the more important the fill material is to get a natural feel.  If you have very little breast tissue, silicone will feel much more natural than saline.  I hope this helps.  Good luck.

Dan Mills

A:

There is significant variation of the degree of softness and how breasts feel from person to person, even in those who have never had breast surgery. There are multiple factors in how the breasts will feel after an augmentation:

1)The fill material of the implant: Generally the feel of silicone is more natural than that of saline, especially in a person with very little breast tissue.

2)The amount of a person’s own breast tissue: If someone has a fair amount of their own breast tissue, then the feel of saline versus silicone is not as important because the existing breast tissue provides a thicker cover over the implant.

3)The position of the implant. Sub-muscular or sub-glandular: If an implant is under the muscle, there is additional tissue that covers the implant, usually resulting in a softer feel.

4)The configuration of the implant: Higher profile implants may feel firmer. Form stable implants also known as highly cohesive gel implants and commonly called “gummy bear implants”, which may be appropriate in some patients, are claimed to feel more natural, but are actually firmer than the other current types of silicone implants.

5)The implant covering: Smooth surface implants move more naturally than textured implants, so they feel more natural, especially when someone lies down.

6)Implant size. Very large implants usually do not feel or look as natural. Saline implants that are significantly over-filled definitely feel firmer.

7)Capsular contraction: Implants initially feel tighter and firmer and then get softer unless there is a tightening of the internal scar that forms around an implant which can make the breast feel firmer. It occurs in a lower rate with saline implants and in a sub-muscular position.

8)The plastic surgeon: It is not only the type and position of the implant that is important in achieving an outcome. It is also the plastic surgeon. To maximize the probability of having a pleasing result, have a consultation with a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and address your concerns.

Most patients who have undergone a breast augmentation are happy they did it.

Robert Singer, MD  FACS

La Jolla, California

 

A:

There is significant variation of the degree of softness and how breasts feel from person to person, even in those who have never had breast surgery. There are multiple factors in how the breasts will feel after an augmentation:

1)The fill material of the implant: Generally the feel of silicone is more natural than that of saline, especially in a person with very little breast tissue.

2)The amount of a person’s own breast tissue: If someone has a fair amount of their own breast tissue, then the feel of saline versus silicone is not as important because the existing breast tissue provides a thicker cover over the implant.

3)The position of the implant. Sub-muscular or sub-glandular: If an implant is under the muscle, there is additional tissue that covers the implant, usually resulting in a softer feel.

4)The configuration of the implant: Higher profile implants may feel firmer. Form stable implants also known as highly cohesive gel implants and commonly called “gummy bear implants”, which may be appropriate in some patients, are claimed to feel more natural, but are actually firmer than the other current types of silicone implants.

5)The implant covering: Smooth surface implants move more naturally than textured implants, so they feel more natural, especially when someone lies down.

6)Implant size. Very large implants usually do not feel or look as natural. Saline implants that are significantly over-filled definitely feel firmer.

7)Capsular contraction: Implants initially feel tighter and firmer and then get softer unless there is a tightening of the internal scar that forms around an implant which can make the breast feel firmer. It occurs in a lower rate with saline implants and in a sub-muscular position.

8)The plastic surgeon: It is not only the type and position of the implant that is important in achieving an outcome. It is also the plastic surgeon. To maximize the probability of having a pleasing result, have a consultation with a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and address your concerns.

Most patients who have undergone a breast augmentation are happy they did it.

Robert Singer, MD  FACS

La Jolla, California

 

A:

Very frequently the augmented breast feels very natural and it is impossible to tell that there is an implant present. I have even had the patient's family doctor or gynecologist unable to tell the difference. This is true even with implants over the muscle when the procedure is done correctly. The more breast tissue you have over the implant, the less likely you are to feel the implant. The most likely place to feel the implant is interiorly if the implants are saline, since saline has a different feel than fat. Silicone implants, even there generally feel like normal breast tissue. Other things make the implants noticeable. Most of these have to do with the choice of implant and the surgical technique. Because of this, choose a board certified plastic surgeon whose results do not look fake.

A:

Nishi,

Thank you for your question.  Generally speaking most patients are of the opinion that silicone gel breast implants feel more natural than do saline breast implants.

A natural feel of the breast implant is dependent upon many factors.  The most important is that you do not develop a capsular contraction or firm scar around the breast implant. If you do develop a significant capsule the breast will likely not feel natural.  Many surgeons believe that placing the implant beneath the chest muscle, if possible in your case, provides better coverage and a more natural feel to the implant.

Please consult a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the ASAPS.  Be sure to ask about the incidence of complications and potential changes in the feel of the augmented breast. If your surgery goes well and you have no complication a natural feel is possible.

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