5 Popular Plastic Surgery Procedures


Breast Augmentation

Silicone breast implants tend to have a more natural look and feel than saline implants.
Silicone breast implants tend to have a more natural look and feel than saline implants.
Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Other than a facelift, the procedure that people most commonly associate with cosmetic surgery is breast augmentation, or breast implants. Breast augmentation is a close cousin to another procedure plastic surgeons do commonly: breast reconstruction after cancer. As with other cosmetic surgeries, breast augmentations leave scars. Plastic surgeons try to hide these scars in the armpits, along the margin of the nipple or in the skin crease where the breast meets the abdomen. However, what most patients are more interested in are the type and size of implant.

Two main types of breast implants are available. These are saline (saltwater) filled implants and silicone implants. The big difference between the two types is their consistency or feel. Silicone more closely matches the feel of breast tissue and may appear more natural as well. Also, to aid in the natural appearance, most implants are now placed under the chest muscles, against the ribs. Even here, they can make mammogram exams difficult. For that reason, breast surgeons often suggest regular MRI exams to rule out breast malignancies.

Also, no implant will last forever. There is a small but definite risk of rupture, which increases with time. Despite these concerns, breast implants remain very popular, not only in Hollywood, but also in society in general. Breast implants take an hour or two to insert and may require other tailoring of the breast to ensure symmetry. This is done in an operating room with anesthesia.