Breast Implants Versus Autologous Tissue

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Breast enlargement is done due to various reasons – for reconstructive purposes after mastectomy because of breast cancer or for cosmetic purposes. Nowadays we have many methods for breast augmentation. It is hard to say which one to choose. Actually no one can tell us this, we can just compare different methods and after a consultation with a surgeon every woman should decide on her own.

Breast implants

These are artificial materials made of silicone (plastic gel) or saline (sterile salt water). Women have to be at least 18 to get saline – filled implants and at least 22 to get breast augmentation with silicone implants.

It is carried out under general anaesthesia (people fall asleep and do not feel pain). It can be done as an outpatient procedure or a woman may spend the night in the hospital. The surgeon makes cuts under breasts, arms and around nipples. The implant is placed under the chest muscle. Then the cuts are closed with sutures or surgical tape.

Although it is a cosmetic procedure, it may have some complications, such as breast pain, bleeding, infection and scar formation. Also the breasts may not be symmetrical or changes in areola and nipples appearance may occur. It is usually harder to perform a mammography and breastfeeding after a breast augmentation procedure.

Pros and cons of silicone and saline breast implants

In comparison with saline implants silicone ones are more popular because they feel more like real breast but they pose bigger risk if they leak. Saline implants ruptures are easy to spot. The breast becomes smaller because leaking fluid is absorbed by the body, while silicone implant ruptures remain undetected. Therefore, women have to undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging once every two years. Saline implants are filled after surgery for this reason the incision is smaller and a woman may decide to change the size of breasts without a surgery.

Autologous tissue

The tissue of the same person that is moved from one part of the body to another. This is another, not artificial, breast augmentation type where stem cell-enriched autologous fat is used. This procedure is also called lipofilling (adding in lipids). There are also other autologous tissues like muscles but we will talk only about autologous fat, which is used more often for cosmetic purposes than for reconstruction.

There are three methods of breast augmentation with autologous fat. Firstly, there is stem cell – enriched autologous fat. This is a long-term procedure. One operation is enough, because the breast retains most of the volume.  Secondly, stem cell – concentrated autologous fat may be used. When the procedure has been carried out refreshments may be necessary, although a significant portion of the volume is retained. And the last is standard lipotransfer. During this procedure unchanged (stem cells content remain former) autologous fat is implanted. In this case only a small portion of volume retains in a long term and refreshments are necessary but the procedure itself is cheaper.

Some researchers say that autologous tissues are better because no foreign substances are inserted into the body. On the other hand, breast implants are better investigated and no predisposition for systemic diseases has been found. German plastic surgeons claim after conducting research that both patient groups were pleased with the results and the rate of complications were similar.

When injecting fats to the breast no cuts are done and anaesthesia is only local, but breast can be enlarged only by one, rarely by two cups. Another minus of using fat cells is that they have to get blood supply when injected into breast, but some of them do and some do not and get resorbed. Actually this breast enlargement procedure gives more natural, soft feeling but with a less rounded shape. Every woman has to consult her surgeon and make her own decision about breast augmentation type.

What should be noticed is that breast implants are not lifelong. They change their appearance and recquire surgical corrections and long–term medical care.

When injecting fats to the breast no cuts are done and anaesthesia is only local, but breast can be enlarged only by one, rarely by two cups. Another minus of using fat cells is that they have to get blood supply when injected into breast, but some of them do and some do not and get resorbed. Actually this breast enlargement procedure gives more natural, soft feeling but with a less rounded shape. Every woman has to consult her surgeon and make her own decision about breast augmentation type.