With breast augmentation consistently ranking among the top five cosmetic surgeries performed annually, it’s no wonder that there’s a constant push toward new innovations as far as enhancement is concerned. The current generation of saline and silicone implants represents the pinnacle of medical science as well as aesthetics, so it’s sometimes hard to imagine where it’s possible to go from here. What new prospects are on the horizon for breast implants?
A company based out of Belgium recently developed breast implants that come equipped with a radio frequency identification (RFID) microchip. This tiny chip allows doctors to immediately access medical data related to the implant, such as its make, model, manufacturer and serial number. The implant is scheduled for marketing in several European countries, but has not been introduced for FDA approval within the United States yet.
- Pros: It’s possible that microchips could be helpful in regards to manufacturer defects or just verifying objective data like implant age.
- Cons: It’s not clear whether this data is really more reliable than standard medical records; microchips may make patients feel “tracked.”
While fat transfer augmentation has been in use for several years, there’s a reason this approach hasn’t gained widespread acceptance as a reliable alternative for implants. Transplanted fat cells don’t always thrive in their new location, with some surgeons reporting as much as an 80 percent loss in transferred cells. Recent research indicates that incorporating stem cells as part of fat transfer augmentation may improve the transferred cells’ viability.
- Pros: The use of the patient’s natural tissue negates concerns over implant leak or rupture; results feel like natural breast tissue because augmentation is achieved with fat cells rather than implants.
- Cons: Not every woman is a candidate, since she must have enough excess natural fat for removal via liposuction; results are still not reliable and predictable at the same level as silicone or saline implants.
The concept of nanotechnology is complex, and involves the idea of directly manipulating atoms and molecules in order to change a substance’s basic nature. When applied to breast augmentation, researchers have suggested the idea of modulating silicone gel to improve its biocompatibility, or even to allow the possibility of delivering minute amounts of medication (for example, antibiotics after surgery).
- Pros: At this time, all positive points are purely theoretical, offering claims ranging from reduced side effects after surgery to minimized risks of capsular contracture.
- Cons: The reality of nanotechnology with regards to breast augmentation isn’t even close to achieving this level of sophistication right now.
Enhancing Your Breasts
While it’s fun to conjecture, the truth is that these possibilities are just that: only possibilities. When looking at what the future holds for breast implants, it’s important to remember that many of these speculations are really only at the suggestion stage, and are years or even decades away from becoming a reality.
Right now, the safest and most reliable option for breast augmentation remains either saline or silicone breast implants, combined with the skill of an outstanding cosmetic surgeon. With today’s surgical techniques, results are more beautiful and flattering than ever, and the vast majority percent of patients say they’re happy with their new look after surgery. Will future breast implants be even better? Maybe. Until then, the best option is already right in front of you.