Breast implants are available in a variety of shapes and sizes for the different women who get them. Often, new trends arise in plastic surgery, like many other industries. One of these recent trends was tear drop implants. However, new doesn’t necessarily mean better. In the case of the tear drop implant, some new risks are also associated with it. So before you consider this type of implant, there are a few things you need to know.
First, many well-respected plastic surgeons will tell you that the tear drop shaped implants are no longer used due to the textured implant controversy and risk of BIA-ALCL. They also flip, rotate, leak, wrinkle, scar and cost more. These risks are very real and, unfortunately not infrequent. So before you consider teardrop implants, here are 7 risks that you need to know.
Tear Drop Implants Can Rotate
Tear drop implants rely on scar tissue (capsule) to attach to the implant’s textured surface. This is what holds the implant in place. Because the teardrop shaped implants are flatter on top and more full on the bottom, malposition may occur if the implant is not held in place by scar tissue. Rotation can change the shape of the breast and sometimes it even requires another surgical procedure to correct.
Unnatural Shape When Lying Down
Another downside to tear drop implants is the way they look when a woman is lying down. The silicone gel in a round implant tends to shift with gravity. It may look like a teardrop breast when a woman is standing, and it is fuller when a woman lies down – which resembles natural breasts. Teardrop breasts don’t adjust in shape this way and tend to look unnatural if a woman is lying down. Usually this is a subtle change of contour.
Leaks May Go Undetected
While it is possible for any type of breast implant to leak, a silent rupture could cause complications. The gel used in a teardrop breast implant is semi-solid and often called a “gummy bear implant”. Because of its texture, a leak isn’t always as noticeable. MRIs may be required to detect ruptures.
Prone to Wrinkling and Rippling
Since teardrop implants have a textured or rough surface, wrinkling of the implant surface may be palpable especially on the lower portion of the breast. This wrinkling is sometimes visible with patients with extremely large implants or with patients who have minimal soft tissue coverage.
Textured teardrop implants sometimes require a larger incision than round implant resulting in a more noticeable incision scar.
Teardrop implants cost more than round implants. Not only is the implant itself more expensive, but the surgical procedure to install the implant is also more costly. This is because it is a more complicated procedure and it often requires more time.
Linked to BIA-ALCL
As mentioned at the start of this article, tear drop breast implants have been linked to BIA-ALCL. BIA-ALCL stands for Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma. It is a rare T-cell lymphoma that could develop in the fluid and scar tissue around a breast implant. Sometimes it even spreads throughout the body. It’s not breast cancer, per se, but a cancer of the immune system that seems to show up in women who have (or have had in the past) implants with a textured surface such as tear drop implants.
BIA-ALCL, if caught early enough, can be treated and possibly even cured. But there have been women who have lost their lives from it. Since it shows up primarily in women with textured breast implants, the best way to prevent BIA-ALCL is to avoid using textured implants.
So, if you are considering breast implants, speak with your doctor about your options. You may find that many plastic surgeons will tell you that teardrop implants are no longer used due to the textured implant controversy and risk of BIA-ALCL.