Part 1 of series – Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Augmentation Surgery

Breast Augmentation in Morristown, New Jersey – Random Questions Answered by Brian S. Glatt, MD, FACS


This is intended to be the first part of a multi-part series addressing very frequently asked questions about breast augmentation surgery and breast implants.  The answers to the questions may vary by practitioner.  These are my take on them and I will expand on each topic during your consultation.  Look out for the rest of the series and call our office with any questions. 


What should I expect to pay for breast augmentation surgery?
Breast augmentation surgery in northern New Jersey typically costs between $3000-6000 for the surgeon’s fee.  There are usually additional costs which may include the cost for the breast implants, anesthesia and the facility (operating room where your surgery is performed).  These costs should be line itemed out so that you can see just how much everything costs.  Beware of those charging significantly more or less than this!  You get absolutely nothing for paying much more.  If anyone is charging much less, there is a reason for it and it’s probably not a good one.


Do Silicone gel breast implants and saline filled breast implants cost the same?

No.  Silicone gel breast implants cost more than saline filled breast implants do – usually about twice as much.


Are silicone implants available?
The FDA has recently approved silicone gel breast implants for any woman considering breast augmentation who is at least 22 years of age.  This age was an arbitrary number chosen by a government panel.  For those women less than 22 years old seeking breast augmentation surgery, excellent results can be obtained by using saline filled breast implants.


What is the implant shell made of with saline implants?
The shell of all breast implants are made of a semi-solid silicone membrane – whether the implant is filled with saline solution or cohesive silicone gel – the outer shell make-up is the same.  It is a solid silicone rather than a silicone gel so there is very little risk of silicone leaking out into the tissues.  Saline filled breast implant shells differ only in that they have a fill port which is used to inflate the implant through a tube after it has been inserted at the time of surgery.  Silicone gel filled implants come in prefilled, determined sizes and are completely sealed during manufacturing without a fill port. 


What is saline?
Saline is a sterile salt water solution that is a standard IV fluid used throughout the world.  It consists of water, sodium and chloride in similar concentrations to what is found naturally in the body.  In the case of saline filled breast implants, the saline solution comes directly from an IV bag in a closed system and is inserted through a fill tube into the implant after the implant has been placed into the breast. 


Is sterile saline safe?
Yes.  It is the same solution that is injected directly into the veins of almost every hospitalized patient or those undergoing surgery. 


How are saline implants different from silicone implants?
Since silicone gel is much thicker and more cohesive (think gummy bear) than saline, silicone gel filled breast implants tend to feel more like natural breast tissue.  While saline implants come empty so that they can be inserted through smaller incisions and filled after they are placed in the breast pocket, silicone implants are pre-filled, so they require a slightly longer incision to be inserted. 
When silicone implants rupture, the over-whelming majority of the silicone stays in the pocket within the breast capsule so the size of the breast doesn’t change.  For this reason, it can be very difficult sometimes to tell when a silicone implant is ruptured.  There are no good tests, such as mammograms, ultrasound, CT-scans or MRI to determine whether a silicone implant is intact or not. MRI is probably the most accurate at detecting a rupture.   When a saline implant ruptures, the saline escapes, it is absorbed by the body and is eliminated.  This generally results in a loss of breast volume which indicates that the implant has lost its integrity. Therefore, it is typically very obvious when a saline implant has ruptured because the breast becomes much smaller. Silicone implants also usually have somewhat of a higher risk of capsular contracture, which is firm scar tissue forming around the implant, causing the breast to feel harder than normal. However, the new cohesive gel silicone implants not only have a thicker shell, but also are composed of a thicker silicone gel than the old silicone implants.  Therefore, the risk of capsular contracture should be much lower for the new current generation implants compared to the old silicone implants.

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