Alternatives to Silicone
Some may dislike the idea of a silicone implant but still want all the benefits of breast enlargement. Luckily, there are alternatives.
Written by Patient Care Team Lead, Jonathan , BN (Hons)
Medical Review by Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Lizzie Tuckey , MBBS, BA
Published: Monday, 27 December 2021
In 2018 alone, over 1.8 million breast enlargement surgeries were performed globally, with silicone being the most common type of implant used.
Breast enlargement is as popular as ever. However, our surgeons have recently noticed an upswing in the number of patients interested in alternative breast enlargement techniques that do not use traditional implants. Whether this is motivated by media coverage of complications related to silicone implants, or a dislike for implants in general, we’re happy to provide information about every option you have when considering breast enlargement.
Fat Transfer Breast Enlargement
Fat tissue has been used as a filler in plastic surgery procedures for years. Fat is a popular alternative to injectable fillers like Hylauronic Acid because it generally lasts much longer can add volume to the buttocks, hips, and face. This method also comes with the added benefit of removing unwanted fat from other parts of the body.
For breast enlargement via fat transfer, fat is removed from a predetermined part of the body (like the belly, thighs, upper arms, or back) via liposuction. It is purified, then strategically injected into the breasts to increase their size and change their shape.
Results from fat transfer are more subtle and natural-looking than silicone implants, so this procedure is not suitable for patients who want to dramatically increase their breast size (more than one cup size larger).
Ideal candidates for this type of procedure want to sculpt, fill, balance, and/or lift the shape of their breasts without silicone implants who also have an adequate amount of body fat for liposuction. This procedure results in minimal scarring as the only incisions necessary are made during the liposuction portion of the surgery, and the small injection sites around the breasts are small and unlikely to scar at all.
Of course, no cosmetic procedure is without risk, and potential complications with fat transfer include cyst formation, infection, and absorption or migration of the injected fat. While your Medbelle surgeon will discuss this possibility with you during your consultation, you should know that several separate fat injection sessions may be necessary to reach your goals.
If you want to read what it's like to be a fat transfer breast enlargement patient with Medbelle, read Abi's patient story. She had the procedure done in 2019 and is thrilled with her results.
Auto-Augmentation Breast Enlargement
Another possible alternative to silicone implants is auto-augmentation breast enlargement. This type of breast enlargement is an excellent option for patients looking to lift sagging breast tissue (ptosis) and correct loss of volume commonly caused by changes in weight.
The auto part of auto-augmentation refers to the fact that your own breast tissue is used to reshape and lift the breast. While nothing is added to the breast during auto-augmentation, repositioning and reshaping the breast tissue can make the breasts look much larger than before surgery.
Overall, auto-augmentation breast enlargement is quite similar to a traditional breast lift. First, the surgeon makes an incision on the breast, following around the nipple and vertically down to the crease of the breast. After this, the existing breast tissue is arranged carefully to enhance the shape of the breasts. Then the incisions are sutured closed. Excess skin can also be removed during this procedure to provide the breasts with an overall perkier and more firm appearance, all without needing to insert an implant.
This procedure is best suited to individuals who want an overall fuller, lifted bust without a dramatic increase in size. Those who are looking for much more overall volume will not achieve it with this technique.
Auto-augmentation has a few benefits compared to silicone implants if you’re an appropriate candidate. This procedure prevents any future sagging of the breasts that can sometimes be caused by the added weight of silicone implants (sometimes called the gravity effect). Also, with auto-augmentation, there’s no risk of reaction because nothing is added to the breast. The overall result is far more natural-looking and gives breasts a fuller, lifted look.
While less invasive than other breast augmentation options, there is some associated risk of scarring and asymmetry with auto-augmentation. Also, overall, a relatively small number of surgeons offer this type of breast enlargement, making it slightly more difficult to access. Medbelle has highly-experienced surgeons that offer auto-augmentation using this technique.
Many doctors now consider silicone breast implants the gold standard for breast augmentation, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives.
If you’d rather not have silicone implants and you’re an appropriate candidate for an alternative breast enlargement surgery like fat transfer or auto-augmentation, booking a consultation with a Medbelle BAAPS/BAPRAS member surgeon is a great way to learn more and find out what’s right for you.
Whichever option you decide to go with, you’ll need to be in good physical and mental health to be considered for surgery. Every individual case is different, so it’s essential that you discuss options thoroughly with your surgeon before making any big decisions. At the end of the day, only your surgeon can give you exact medical advice to suit you, your health, and the results you want.
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