Women undergo breast augmentation for a variety of reasons, such as to increase the size of naturally small breasts, correct asymmetrical or disproportionately sized breasts, add volume to breasts that have grown saggy, or repair breasts damaged by trauma or disease. Whatever your reason for considering breast augmentation surgery, it is important to be fully informed about your choices regarding implant type and size, incision technique, and implant placement. Our team is committed to helping each patient make the best choices to meet her personal appearance enhancement goals, and therefore we offer the following information for patient education.

The three types of implants

The two most popular types of implants on the market are saline and silicone. Both implant types consist of a silicone shell filled with either saline (a salt-water solution) or silicone gel. Each type of implant has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Saline implants are approved for women 18 or older, whereas silicone implants are approved for women 22 or older. A third type of implant known as cohesive gel or "gummy bear" implant has been available in many parts of the world for several years and recently received FDA approval for use in the United States. Our San Francisco plastic surgeon, Dr. Liu, will help you decide which implant type will help achieve your aesthetic goals.

Advantages of saline implants

One advantage of saline implants is that they are cheaper than silicone implants. In addition, they can be filled after being placed in the body, which means they require smaller incisions than silicone implants and can be easily adjusted to ensure breast symmetry. Saline implants are also considered to be safer than silicone implants.

If a saline implant ruptures, the saline solution is absorbed harmlessly by the body, and the rupture is immediately apparent due to the sudden change in breast size. In addition, there is a lower infection rate associated with saline breast implants.

Disadvantages of saline implants

Most people believe that saline implants appear and feel less natural than silicone implants. In addition, due to the liquid nature of the saline solution, saline implants are more likely to develop rippling. However, the risk of visible rippling can be minimized by filling the implants according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and placing them under the chest muscles.

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Advantages / disadvantages of silicone breast implants

The main advantage of silicone breast implants is their more natural look and feel. Many women consider this advantage a major factor in their decision — one that outweighs any potential negatives.

One disadvantage of silicone implants is their higher price. In addition, their size cannot be adjusted after placement, so they require larger incisions.

Silicone implants also present greater risks associated with rupture. If a silicone implant ruptures, the gel remains in the breast area, making the rupture hard to detect. For this reason, it is recommended that women who receive silicone implants get MRIs at regular intervals. In addition, leaked silicone can cause local inflammations and can be difficult for the surgeon to remove from the body.

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Incision sites for breast implant placement

Our team offers three incision types for our San Francisco breast implant patients: inframammary, periareolar and transaxillary.


An inframammary incision is placed in the crease at the bottom of the breast. One advantage of this incision type is that the resulting scar is often well-concealed. In addition, this incision type can accommodate any size of implant and affords easy access to the breast implant placement site. The recovery time for an inframammary incision is relatively fast.


A Periareolar incision is placed around the areola, the dark pigmented areas around the nipple. This incision location allows for fast recovery times as well as minimal visible scarring. However, it cannot accommodate every size of implant. In addition, due to the potential for nerve damage, it is not recommended for women who wish to breastfeed at some point following surgery.


A transaxillary incision is placed in the armpit and is therefore relatively unnoticeable. However, it cannot be used for all sizes and shapes of breast implants in San Francisco. In addition, it requires more extensive recovery time than the other two incision types.

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Breast implant placement locations

Our team offers two breast implant placement locations: above the chest muscle (subglandular) or below the muscle (subpectoral). The best location option will depend on the patient's anatomy, existing breast tissue and skin elasticity as well as her aesthetic goals. For patients with a small amount of breast tissue, a subpectoral placement is typically best in order to provide more natural-looking results.

Natrelle warranty information

Natrelle breast implants come with a lifetime product replacement guarantee. If your saline or silicone implant deflates or ruptures due to a loss of implant shell integrity, Allergan will replace it with any style of size for free.

In addition, by purchasing Natrelle saline or silicone breast implants, the patient is automatically enrolled in Allergan’s ConfidencePlus warranty program, which includes 10 years of financial assistance and up to $1,200 for expenses not covered by insurance. For an additional fee, patients can enroll in Allergan’s ConfidencePlus Premier warranty program, which includes 10 years of financial assistance, up to $2,400 for expenses not covered by insurance and contralateral implant replacement.

Sientra warranty information

Sientra offers one of the best breast implant warranties in the industry. The Sientra limited warranty and product replacement program includes:

  • Lifetime product replacement if Sientra breast implant ruptures
  • A $3,600 contribution toward surgery if Sientra implant ruptures within 10 years following the original breast augmentation surgery
  • Free contralateral (i.e., opposite side) breast implant if required

Our team is proud to offer Natrelle and Sientra breast implants to breast augmentation patients who wish to beautify their bust appearance. In addition, we are an experienced provider of breast lift San Francisco women turn to when their breasts have become saggy due to age, childbirth or weight loss.

Our team also performs breast reduction for women with excessively large breasts as well as male breast reduction for men suffering the embarrassment of gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts).

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Visit Bay Area Aesthetic Surgery for some of the most beautiful results from breast implants San Francisco women and transgender communities can trust and rely on.

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