Effects of Textured Breast Implants: What You Need to Know

When it comes to breast augmentation surgery, one of the most important steps is to decide which breast implant to use. Every year, hundreds of women get breast implants to improve their breasts’ shape, volume, and fullness. While most surgeries go ahead without a hitch, the effect of textured breast implants is a serious question in the world of breast implants. 

What Are Textured Breast Implants?

Breast implants contain an outer silicone rubber shell containing either saline or silicone gel. There are several breast implant types to consider when getting breast augmentation surgery, including:

  • Saline 
  • Silicone
  • Gummy bear
  • Round 
  • Smooth
  • Textured

Smooth breast implants have a smooth, shiny, and slippery outer silicone rubber shell. Smooth breast implants freely move within the tissue membrane (capsule) that forms around the implant after breast augmentation. That is because these implants don’t attach to the surrounding body tissue.

As the name suggests, textured breast implants have a slightly rough surface on the outer rubber silicone shell. The idea behind this is that an irregular surface attaches to the tissue capsule around them, making the implant less likely to move. This is especially beneficial for implants with a tear-drop shape since any movement or rotation of the implant could cause the appearance of misshapen breasts.  

One problem that can occur after augmentation surgery is the tissue capsule or membrane surrounding the implant can become too tight. The condition is referred to as capsular contracture and results in breasts feeling hard. That’s why textured breast implants were manufactured and continue to grow in popularity because they are believed to be less likely to cause capsular contracture.

Can You Feel or See the Difference Between Smooth and Textured Breast Implants?

If you’re considering breast augmentation with implants, you have two options of silicone breast implant types – smooth or textured. But is there a difference in the appearance and feel of the two implants after the procedure? The amount of breast tissue will determine how the implant appears. When smooth and textured breast implants are placed beneath the chest muscle, it’s impossible to feel the difference if there is adequate breast tissue.

However, textured breast implants have a thicker wall and feel firmer than smooth implants. The implants also have palpable folds and ripples. Because of that, if you have little breast tissue and a textured implant is placed on top of the muscle, you can feel and see it more than a smooth implant.   

What Are the Effects of Textured Breast Implants?

In 2019, the FDA recalled a specific brand’s textured breast implant in the United States because they found a link to a rare type of lymphoma: breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Although it sounds like breast cancer, BIA-ALCL is a rare type of cancer of the immune system. Usually, you find this cancer near the implant but not in the breast tissue itself. 

Over the last couple of years, doctors and scientists have continued to analyse the link between textured breast implants and immune-related complications. A recent study investigated the effect of textured implants on the immune response. They found that the surface topography of the implant, which means the surface roughness, can have an effect on the immune response. The research suggests that the rougher surface of the implants irritates the surrounding tissue by rubbing it. This may be why rougher implants can lead to BIA-ALCL. A science-based design in breast implants is key to providing patients with safer options. 

What Are the Signs and Symptoms Of BIA-ALCL?

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma occurs in the scar tissue and fluid around a breast implant. It can spread to the lymph nodes near the breasts and other body parts in advanced cases. Signs and symptoms to look out for, especially if you have textured breast implants, include:

  • Fluid collection around or under the implant usually years following the initial breast augmentation surgery
  • Hardening of the breast implant which could indicate capsular contracture
  • Lumps around the breast or in the armpit
  • Breast pain
  • Breast swelling
  • Unexplained low-grade infections

If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor. BIA-ALCL is curable when caught early by removing the implant and surrounding tissue. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy are employed if the cancer has already spread to other areas like the lymph nodes. After treatment, you should make a follow-up appointment at least after two years. Recurrence is rare if all the diseased tissue is removed in the early stages.

You can read more information and advice on BIA-ALCL from the Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery Expert Advisory Group (PRASEAG) on the Gov UK website. 

Doctor with breast implants

Choosing the Right Breast Implants at the Harley Clinic

Both silicone and saline breast implants are considered safe. The next stage is to decide what shape you want your breast implants to be. Some of the most common shapes are tear-drop and round implants. Often, round-shaped implants are the most popular option for shape as they give excellent symmetry, fullness, and lift. However, the teardrop-shaped implant is growing in popularity for its natural-looking finish. Usually, the choice comes down to personal preference. 

At the Harley Clinic, we only use the best, safest, and highest quality breast implants available on the market. While no type of cosmetic surgery is entirely risk-free, your surgeon is an expert in breast augmentation, and every decision is led by science and medicine. 

If you are considering breast augmentation surgery, it’s important to make sure you know exactly what you want and what to expect before committing to anything.

At the Harley Clinic, all our patients will undergo an initial consultation with their plastic surgeon to ensure breast augmentation surgery is the best course of action. Your surgeon will explain the differences and help you choose a breast implant that fits your needs.

Book a consultation today at our Harley Street Clinic if you are ready to start your breast augmentation journey.

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