A breast implant is a prosthesis used to alter the size and shape of a woman’s breasts (known as breast augmentation, breast enlargement, mammoplasty enlargement and augmentation mammoplasty) for cosmetic reasons, to reconstruct the breast (e.g. after a mastectomy or to correct congenital chest wall deformities), or as an aspect of male-to-female gender transition. A breast tissue expander is a temporary breast implant used during staged breast reconstruction procedures. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States. According to data collected by the American Society of Plastic Surgery, in 2007, 307,230 breast augmentation procedures were performed in the U.S., a 12% decrease compared to the previous year. This decrease has been associated with the financial challenges posed by a struggling economy.
There are two primary types of breast implants: saline-filled and silicone-gel-filled implants. Saline implants have a silicone elastomer shell filled with sterile saline liquid. Silicone gel implants have a silicone shell filled with a viscous silicone gel. Several alternative types of breast implants had been developed, such as polypropylene string or soy oil, but these are no longer manufactured..