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There is no simple answer to the question of "what are the largest breast implants available?" Generally speaking, saline implants are available in a wide range of sizes ranging from 120cc-850cc. This refers to the amount of saline which is used to fill the implant. The patient and surgeon will typically work together to determine a size which would be most appropriate for the patient's size and structure. Implants which fall within the commercial range of 120cc-850cc are fairly easy to obtain, but it is possible to obtain implants which are even larger in size.
Patients who wish to have implants that are larger than the average size may wish to have custom implants made. Not all surgeons will be willing to perform a breast augmentation procedure involving custom implants so selecting a surgeon might be more difficult. Additionally, the procedure might be somewhat riskier and the fee for the procedure will likely be higher than those involving commercially available implants.
Patients who are considering a breast augmentation surgery should research the procedure thoroughly to assist them in the decision-making process. This is important because patients who have all of the necessary information are much more likely to make wise decisions. Examples of the types of information the patient should obtain before making the decision include statistics on the procedure, information on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of implants, information on the different types of procedures which may be performed, the type of results the patient can expect and the recovery period involved. This may seem like a great deal of information but fortunately there are many different methods patients can utilize to find reliable breast implant information.
Reliable breast implant information can be found through consultations with a surgeon, researching medical journals and through government Web sites. Consultation with a surgeon is typically one of the patient's best resources for learning about breast implants because the surgeon can provide an overview of the procedure and answer any of the patient's direct questions. Medical journals can also be a valuable resource, but the language in these journals can often be difficult to understand so the patient may have to ask the surgeon for clarification. Government Web sites, such as the Web site for the Food and Drug Administration, can also be helpful and can provide accurate and up-to-date breast implant information.
Cohesive gel implants are a new type of silicone gel implants which have a superior ability to maintain its shape. These implants are commonly known as "gummy bear implants" because the material used to fill the implants has a feel and consistency very similar to the popular candy known as Gummy Bears.
The disadvantages to these types of breast implants are largely related to the surgical procedures. Specifically, a transumbilical breast augmentation is not possible with cohesive gel implants. The method involves folding the implant and inserting it through a long narrow tube. Furthermore, these types of breast implants have procedures that require longer incisions than procedures involving saline or silicone implants because the cohesive gel implants hold their shape so well and cannot be compressed easily.
Patients who are considering undergoing breast augmentation surgery may consult with one or more plastic surgeons prior to making the decision get breast implants. During this consultation, the surgeon can determine whether or not the patient is an ideal candidate for breast augmentation and may make recommendations about which type of breast implants -- saline or silicone -- might help the patient achieve optimal results.
Finding a qualified breast implant surgeon is very important because a surgeon who is well-qualified, highly skilled and experienced can produce results that are physically appealing. There are a number of different ways in which a patient can go about finding a qualified breast implant surgeon. This may include using the database on the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Web site.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons maintains a database of surgeons who are members of the society and allows visitors of the Web site to search their database by a number of factors, including the surgeon's name, the type of procedure and location. Membership in the society does not guarantee the skill level of the surgeon, but it does guarantee the surgeon has met certain criteria such as graduation from an accredited medical school, participation in specific training in plastic surgery, adherence to strict ethical guidelines and participation in continuing education programs.
Deciding between saline breast implants and silicone breast implants is a matter of personal preference for the patient. Patients who are considering breast augmentation surgery often have the option of choosing between saline breast implants and silicone breast implants. Since 1992, there was a restrictive ban on the use of silicone breast implants by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, this ban was partially revoked by the FDA in 2006 making the use of silicone breast implants permissible in all breast reconstruction procedures and in breast augmentation procedures involving women over the age of 22.
Saline breast implants consist of a silicone shell which is filled with a salt solution which closely mimics other fluids in the body. Many patients favor this type of implant because it is believed to be relatively safe and ruptures are typically easy to detect because the majority of the fluid leaks from the implant. When this happens the size of the breast is usually noticeably different within minutes, but the fluid which escapes into the body is harmlessly absorbed and excreted. The implant will still need to be removed and replaced, if desired, but patients enjoy the security of knowing ruptures will be detected quickly and escaped fluids will not cause complications.
Silicone gel implants consist of a silicone shell which is filled with a thick, synthetic substance. Many patients favor this type of implant because they believe the results are the most physically appealing. Additionally, silicone breast implants are less likely to produce contour irregularities, such as wrinkling. However, one disadvantage to silicone gel implants is ruptures can be difficult to detect. When a rupture occurs, the majority of the gel usually remains in the implant so there may not be a noticeable change in breast size. A surgeon may not even be able to detect a rupture during a routine examination. It is recommended that patients undergo an MRI every three years to determine whether or not the implant is intact. These MRIs can be expensive and will not likely be covered by insurance. Additionally, gel that escapes from the implant may result in granulomas, which can migrate to remote organs and be difficult to remove.
Both saline implants and silicone gel implants consist of a silicon shell. The difference is the filler material used to fill the shells. Saline implants consist of a salt solution which is thin, while silicone gel implants consist of a thicker synthetic material. Many surgeons believe silicone gel implants produce the most realistic results, while saline implants are more likely to result in contour deformities such as rippling. However, many patients still prefer saline-filled implants because the fluid used to fill the implants is so similar to bodily fluids that it can absorbed and excreted in the event of a rupture.
The term "gummy bear implants" applies to a new type of silicone gel implant which has a consistency similar to the popular candy known as Gummy Bears. Technically, the implants are known as cohesive gel breast implants and have the advantage of holding their shape for longer than other types of earlier-generation silicone gel implants. The ingredients used in earlier gel implants and the new gummy bear implants are essentially the same. However, additives have been included in the production of the gummy bear implants to encourage tighter bonding among the molecules to create a more stable shape. In addition to holding shape well, other advantages include the lack of leakage during a rupture and a reduction in problems with contour deformities, such as rippling.