Harley Street Breast Implants


Patients seek breast implantations for a number of reasons; they may desire improved breast aesthetics or may be undergoing a sex change. As with the majority of cosmetic work, the reasons for undertaking surgery are mostly psychological. The main types of implant are silicone, saline and reconstructive. Typically, breast implants cost between £3400 and £7000.


First, an incision is made in the breast, but this can be at various points depending on the type of implant to be used. Next, the surgeon will create room for the implant and insert the shell into the breast. Finally the wound is sealed with stitches and the breasts wrapped up in support. This process usually takes between 1 and 1½ hours.

Saline implants

Once the shell has been inserted into the breast, it is filled with sterile saline (salt and water) and so inflated to the desired size. In the majority of cases this is done through a valve which is then sealed by the surgeon. A saline implant can be fixed volume – filled and set in the first operation – or adjustable volume, allowing for future expansion or other work.

Silicone implants

Approved in 2006 by the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration), silicone implants account for the majority of breast implants. They are produced by mixing the second-most abundant element in the earth, silicon, with oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. The result is a variable capsular implant that is usually lasting.

Reconstructive breast implants

Reconstructive implants work in part as a combination of saline and silicone. A silicone capsule is inserted into the chest and then progressively filled with saline in order to stretch the skin and muscle, prompting the creation of healthy new tissue. Once this natural process has been triggered, it is replaced by a permanent implant as a support.


Should a saline implant rupture, the solution will safely absorb into the body and the effects will be noticeable immediately. It is also considerably easier to replace a saline implant than a silicone one. By contrast, if a silicone implant ruptures, it does not immediately become obvious and replacement is considerably more difficult. However, silicone implants are far more similar to breast tissue in texture and are therefore more aesthetically desirable; they are also softer, less likely to wrinkle and feel more natural. Larger incisions are typical for silicone implants as they must be inserted at full size, whereas saline implants can be inflated while inside the breast. Although reconstructive implants may be preferable, there is a higher risk of infection and deflation in the process. It is best to discuss the differences with the surgeon before making a decision as to the type of implant to be used.


Breast implantation is generally a safe process but as usual there are a few side effects that can occur. There may be bruising which will soon fade away and pain does not generally endure. There is a slight risk of infection in all implants, but controversy has raged over a potential link between silicone implants, connective tissue disease and cancer. However no definite connection has been found and consequently silicone implants are still deemed safe by health and safety standards. One side-effect is known as capsular contraction; the tissue around the implant presses tight and thus distorts the shape of the breast. In this case the implant must be removed, which will return the breast to its former state. A less common side-effect is extrusion, in which the implant pushes through the skin. This requires additional surgery, possibly another implant, and can result in scarring.

Advantages of Harley Street breast implants

Harley Street breast surgeons tend to offer only saline and silicone, being the more thoroughly tested implant types. Their expertise helps all but nullify any potential risks or side-effects. Nonetheless they are open with the patient about any potential complications, offering advice and check-ups at suitable intervals in order to ensure the treatment is as thorough and effective as possible. In a Harley Street cosmetic clinic, a Nurse Counsellor is assigned to the patient to assist with any queries about the operation or surgeon, and to ensure the time in the clinic runs smoothly and comfortably.

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