Types of Breast Implants

Choosing Among Types of Breast Implants


Dr. James McMahan provides insight on the different types of breast implants used in breast augmentation. Dr. McMahan is a skilled surgeon who works with each individual patient to understand her unique needs and help her determine what type of implants are best for her. Dr. McMahan offers silicone, saline, and "gummy bear" style implants.

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Announcer: Whether you can plan your life around, NBC4, here, for you. Interviewer: One of the most popular forms of plastic surgery is breast augmentation, and there are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to have that procedure. Here to help answer some of these questions is Dr. James McMahan, a plastic surgeon with advanced aesthetic and laser surgery. Welcome, Dr. McMahan, nice to have you here. Dr. McMahan: Thank you. Interviewer: And we are going to do something we've never really done on this show before and I appreciate. We are actually going to show the different types of breast implants that there are and how they are different and how we've come through the last few decades in changes. But before we get to the examples, why would a woman come to you for a breast implant, for an augmentation? Dr. McMahan: Basically, there is pretty much two sets of women. The younger ones, coming in their early 20s they realize they're never going to get to what they wanted to be and a lot of times just for a little more self-confidence, and then you get the group of women, usually in their early 30s or maybe 40s that have had a couple of kids, and with breast feeding they kind of lost what they used to have. So they'd like to kind of get their figure back. Interviewer: So you give advice to these folks to about everything from the psychological part of this to the physical part of this? Dr. McMahan: Absolutely. Interviewer: And one of the physiological parts is the changes in the breast implants. This is amazing what you brought today. So let's start with, this is what? Dr. McMahan: That's a saline implant. Interviewer: And this is what you call one of your older styles? Dr. McMahan: Well, they became popular when silicone became controversial in about 1991. So we were pretty much only using saline implants, except for research, from '91 until about 2007. Interviewer: And the controversy? Dr. McMahan: With the silicone was, can silicone cause immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, lupus, fibromyalgia and the studies that have been done looking at the incidents of those diseases with implants and women without implants show they're exactly the same and that's why the FDA re-approved silicone. That's the old one. That's the pre-1990 implant. Interviewer: It's not very firm. Dr. McMahan: No, it's very thin. The shell is very thin, the gel is very thin. So it's very liquidy. Interviewer: Yeah, okay. Dr. McMahan: Right. Interviewer: And this is the new, the latest? Dr. McMahan: Well, this is the one that was approved in November, 2006. So the shell is thicker, the gel is thicker. So it's more cohesive, they say. Interviewer: So you are really going to let us see what's inside these? Dr. McMahan: Absolutely. Interviewer: Okay. Which one do you want to start with? Dr. McMahan: We'll start with the saline. Now, there is a touch of air in there, and that doesn't happen when it's inside of you. So you don't sound like that, okay? Interviewer: Like you've been in a pool all day long. Dr. McMahan: Right, exactly. So what we are going to do is I'm going to hold this up, and you are just going to cut a little slit in the bottom. Interviewer: Alrighty. Dr. McMahan: And I'll hold it down there, and that is going to all leak out. Interviewer: Oh boy! Dr. McMahan: Uh-huh, I didn't get you. Interviewer: But this was what could happen in some women? Dr. McMahan: When a saline implant ruptures, this is what happens. So flat tire. Okay, so it's not ... Interviewer: You certainly know how to use your words. But is it harmful? Dr. McMahan: No, not at all. It's sterile salt solution that we put in there. So you absorb it, it goes away. So it's not there. You don't need to do any special test, you pretty much know your saline implant has ruptured, right? Interviewer: Something's happened. All right. Dr. McMahan: Next we are going to do, I was going to show one more thing. Interviewer: Okay. Dr. McMahan: If you'll put these two in your hand, and I hold my hands like this, you can see how that one flows out or that one kind of stays. So now what we are going to do is we are going to rupture. Interviewer: I get to cut this one too? Dr. McMahan: Yep, you need to cut that one. Interviewer: This is going to be some gooey stuff. Dr. McMahan: This is going to be, yes. And what happens is ... Interviewer: Oh my! Dr. McMahan: It pretty much falls apart. Interviewer: It's gelatinous. Dr. McMahan: It's gooey, sticky but it stays pretty much within the scar tissue in the breast. It's not like it leaks all over the body that people are worried about. Interviewer: Okay. So that's good news. Dr. McMahan: Yes. So I'm going to take this away. Interviewer: Alrighty. And as we're talking about these and showing them, which one do you recommend or does it depend on the woman? Dr. McMahan: It really depends. Each one has its advantages, each one has its disadvantages. And you have to look at all of them to decide and that's actually on my website, saline versus silicone, which is better. And you look at the advantages and disadvantages and decide which one is most important for you. Interviewer: Okay. Dr. McMahan: Now here is the one we've been using for last several years, okay, and it's little thicker, okay. Interviewer: Nothing is coming out of it, really. Dr. McMahan: It's not pouring. It eventually will but it's more what we say, cohesive, but it's still tacky. Interviewer: And you think that gives the most natural look? Dr. McMahan: I think it gives the most natural feel and reduces the risk of rippling, yes. The look for saline and silicone usually is pretty much the same. It's not a real big difference, okay? Interviewer: Okay, we have one more example. We have a video tape to show this. So let me take a look at this one too. What's this? Dr. McMahan: This is the new implant by Sientra, which is a brand new implant company and it's so new I couldn't even get a sample. But as you see, as you squeeze that, the gel just stays in place. Interviewer: Nothing comes out, yeah. Dr. McMahan: Right and it's completely cut in half. Interviewer: Well, we have had your information in your website and phone because this is obviously, as you said, not just a woman's choice but they need to be advised on what to do and you're the person to help them out? Dr. McMahan: Absolutely, right. Interviewer: This is fairly interesting. Thank you very much, Dr. McMahan. Dr. McMahan: Good. Hope you had fun. Interviewer: I did. Dr. McMahan: Good.

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