What are Breast Implants

Breast implants are prosthesis that is used in breast augmentation (breast enlargement) cosmetic plastic surgery.  Breast implants are positioned behind the breast tissue or the pectoral muscles and function by pushing the breast tissue outwards, thereby enhancing the size and shape of the breasts.  The use of breast implants was first recorded since 1865, with materials ranging from natural fat to paraffin used to make the implant. 

Silicone Vs. Saline

Today, two types of breast implants are available silicone breast implants and saline breast implants.  Silicone breast implants were the first type of breast implant widely used, and was developed in the 1960s by American scientists.  Silicone breast implants can be described as a sack with an outer thick silicone rubber layer that was filled with a viscous silicone gel.  Up to 1992, silicone breast implants were the standard breast implants used in plastic surgery before the US Food and Drug Administration banned them due to safety concerns (leakage, rupture, deflation, secondary infections, etc.).  Since then, only saline breast implants can be used in the United States.

Saline breast implants are similar to silicone breast implants except that their external silicone covering is filled with sterilized saline (saltwater).  Further research continues to be conducted to improve the quality and safety of breast implants given the growing popularity of breast augmentation cosmetic plastic surgery.  Currently, a new type of silicone breast implant is being developed utilizing a new type of silicone gel that will significantly prevent any problems with leakage or deflation.