Choosing the Right Implants for Your Surgery

Breast Augmentation, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that uses implants to enhance or enlarge a woman’s breasts. Breast implants are medical devices that consist of silicone shells filled with either Saline (Salt Water) or Silicone Gel. They are inserted into the chest through an incision and can be placed either below the breast tissue (Subglandular) or below the pectoralis muscle (Submuscular).

While everyone has their own personal reasons for wanting to get breast implants, Breast Augmentation have increased by 45% in popularity since 2000 and are now the most common form of plastic surgery in Canada.

Choosing The Right Implants For Your Surgery
Breast Implant Shells

Breast Implant Shells

Both silicone gel-filled breast implants and saline-filled breast implants come in a thick, silicone-based shell (otherwise known as an envelope or lumen), that is designed to be as durable as possible. Breast implant shells are made of a highly malleable, stable silicone elastomer and usually have multiple layers.

While rupture is always a concern with implants, silicone gel breast implants have a thicker outer shell that enables the implants to withstand a force equivalent to more than 25 times that of a regular mammogram’s pressure. At Toronto Cosmetic Clinic (TCC), we guarantee to provide you with only the most reliable and lasting implants on the market.

Finally, breast implant shells are either textured or smooth on their surface.

Smooth Breast Implants - smooth breast implants move freely within the constructed breast pocket and are used in many breast augmentation procedures. They have a thinner shell, which results in a softer feel compared to implants with textured surfaces. Smooth implants are usually less likely to ripple and last longer.

Textured Breast Implants - Textured breast implants were designed to limit the risk of capsular contracture, a complication where a thicker scar tissue begins to grow around the breast implant and tighten or squeeze. However, no conclusive findings have been made to prove that they are effective in combatting this. Still, textured implants have other benefits. For instance, teardrop-shaped breast implants are not round and they risk moving or flipping in the breast pocket in a way that can make the breasts appear abnormal. The use of a textured surface with teardrop implants reduces the movement in the breast pocket and creates structure between the implant and surrounding tissue.

Saline & Silicone Breast Implants

Breast implants used for breast augmentation can be also be categorized based on their filling: saline or silicone gel.

Saline Breast Implants:
Saline implants are filled with a sterile salt water solution (otherwise known as ‘saline’), which is at the same salinity level as the human body. This makes the contents of saline implants safe for the human body to absorb in the case that the implant leaks or ruptures. Saline implants can be filled in one of three different ways: 1) pre-filled with a fixed volume of saline prior to surgery; 2) filled during surgery and adjusted to desired levels; or 3) filled during surgery and later adjusted again post-operatively. Because saline breast implants can be filled during surgery, they generally do not require as large an incision to be inserted, thus reducing scarring, bleeding, and healing complications.

A constant concern with saline implants is the risk of rupturing. Since it is filled with salt water, it will do no harm to your body, however it will leave deflated look and will need to replace with another implant.

Inflatable saline breast implants usually come with a leaf valve, kink valve, or diaphragm valve. Each type of valve - depending on the type of saline breast implant - has advantages and disadvantages that must be weighed and should be discussed with your plastic surgeon at Toronto Cosmetic Clinic (TCC). As a precaution, certain saline breast implants offer a combination of valves as increased protection against possible failure and leakage. Regardless of the type of valve though, once the valve has been properly closed, it cannot be reopened.

Silicone Breast Implants:
In the past decade, silicone gel implants have become more commonly used for breast augmentations compared to their saline-filled counterparts. While previously restricted by Health Canada and the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), silicone breast implants are now considered extremely safe for surgery. Their popularity over saline breast implants is due largely to the fact that silicone breasts implants look, feel and move more like natural breast tissue and run a lowered risk of unpleasant surface wrinkling. Unfortunately, silicone breast implants only come pre-filled and require a larger incision than saline breast implants to insert into the body.

In response to the FDA ban of silicone-filled implants in the 1990s, new methods were developed for producing and manufacturing silicone implants to make them safer for use. After over 10 years of study, tracking, and analyzing any risks that may be associated with the new and improved silicone gel-filled implants, the FDA re-approved the use of silicone gel-filled implants for cosmetic use in 2006.

Silicone Breast Implants
Saline VS Silicone Implants

Saline VS Silicone 

Keep in mind that ¾ of breast augmentation patients have silicone gel implants, and at Toronto Cosmetic Clinic over 90% of our patients today have silicone implants, simply due to the fact that they better replicate the natural texture of breast tissue and provide a more authentic feel compared to saline breast implants.

Silicone Gel ImplantsSaline Implants
Natural, Soft Look & FeelVolume Can Be Adjusted During Surgery
Less Rippling as the Gel is Able to Maintain a Nice ShapeTinier Incision Required
If Implant Breaks, the Breast Does not DeflateIf Implant Breaks, Breast will Deflate However Saline is Absorbed by Body

Implant Shape

When coming in for a consultation at Toronto Cosmetic Clinic, we encourage clients to bring in photos of the size and shape of breasts they wish to have. While everybody is different and your breasts will not look exactly like the photos you bring in, this does give our surgeons a good idea of what you are looking for and where your size expectations lie. This also helps illustrate the shape of the breasts you will want, and consequently the shape of breast implants your surgeon will use during your breast augmentation. Breast implants come in round or teardrop shapes and this is a very important factor when choosing the type of implants you want.

Round Implants - Round breast implants are ideal for women who want more fullness in the upper part of the breast. Round implants also will not look out of place in the event that they should rotate, as they maintain the same shape at any angle.

Teardrop Implants - Teardrop-shaped implants (sometimes referred to as “contoured” breast implants) slope downward like the shape of a natural breast. These implants are typically used for women with smaller frames who still want a lot of volume.

Implant Shape
Implant Size

Implant Size

Breast implant filling determines the size. Implant filler is measured in cubic centimeters or “cc”s. Every 150 to 200 ccs of implant filling accounts for one to one-and-a-half bra size cups. However, when entering into your complimentary consultation at Toronto Cosmetic Clinic, it is important to carefully consider your plastic surgeon’s recommendations. Some women have a pre-existing notion or number related to the amount of ccs they want to fill their implants. While this volume may have worked for somebody you know, depending on your individual body type, this may be too large or too small for the actual look you want to create. Factors such as your lifestyle, anatomy and career can have an impact on choosing the right size.

Your Toronto Cosmetic Clinic surgeon will do all the necessary tests and measurements to determine what kind of implant is right for you and how much filler you need to achieve your goals.

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Breast Implant Q & A

  • Is there a relationship between breast cancer and breast implants?

    Extensive research and studies have shown that there is not a conclusive relationship between breast implants and breast cancer.

  • Can I get a mammogram with breast implants?

    There is a possibility that breast implants may interfere with the detection of breast cancer during a mammogram as implants make scans more difficult to take and read. The pressure placed upon the breasts during a mammogram may also put you at risk of breast implant rupture. With this in mind, as good practice, women with breast implants should always tell their technician that they have had breast augmentation before receiving a mammogram in order to decrease risks of rupture while still receiving accurate results.

  • How much does a breast implant weigh?

    The weight of your breast implants will depend on their size and volume. As examples, two 300cc silicone breast implants weigh approximately 1.4lb. By comparison, two 300cc saline breast implants weigh 1.27lb.

  • Can I develop an allergy to my silicone implants?

    While not impossible, silicone allergies are rare and you would likely already be aware of it as we are exposed to the substance regularly in our daily environments (hand lotions, polishes, waxes, etc.). As a precaution, you will also be allergy tested prior to receiving your breast augmentation at Toronto Cosmetic Clinic. It should be noted that having silicone breast implants will not increase your chance of developing a silicone allergy.