The first step to making sure our patients get the results they are hoping for with their breast augmentation is to determine their goals. Some patients want a very subtle change that only they will be aware of. On the other end of the spectrum is those patients who want the world to notice their new implants. Most of our patients ask for a change that gives them more cleavage and fills out their clothes better while still having a natural look.
So what is the best way to get that natural look? There is no one perfect implant that guarantees a natural outcome with every case. There are thousands of implants to choose from, and by making the right decisions we can help our patients get natural, beautiful results with a wide variety of implants. The implant characteristics we look at to help pick the best implants for each patient are size, shape and profile. Below we will briefly describe how each of these factors influences our decision making.
Breast Implant Size
There is a wide range of implant sizes we can choose from to get you the results you are hoping for. We use a number of ways to help figure out which implant will be just right for you. During you consult, our surgeons will take measurements of your breasts and chest. Just like a tailor can take your measurements and tell you what dress size would fit you best, we will use your measurements to figure out what size implants will work best for you. You will also have a chance to do a bra fitting session to see how different size implants look in your clothes. Finally, we will use our Vectra 3D imaging system to show you what different size implants look on your body. There are over a thousand implants available on the market. By using these three approaches, we can narrow it down to the best 3-5 implants for you. The day of your surgery we will bring each of these implants, and then choose the one that actually fits best in you.
Breast Implant Shape
Breast implants are either round or shaped. Round implants can provide a natural look as long as they are the right size and profile for the patient. When an implant is used that is too large or too high of a profile for the patient, the result is a very full, round upper pole. This is the “fake” or “operated” look that some patients tell us during their consults that they are trying to avoid. For many patients, however, this is exactly the look they are hoping for.
Shaped implants can be an excellent way to obtain a tapered upper pole. This is often what patients describe when they tell us they want a natural result. Shaped implants look like teardrops. Like natural breasts, they have more volume at the bottom than the top. This allows us to preserve the natural shape of the breast by maintaining natural proportions of the breast.
Shaped implants are relatively new. It wasn’t until the development of cross linked silicone in the mid-2000s that surgeons had access to molded implants that matched the breasts natural shape. Commonly referred to as “Gummy Bear Implants,” shaped breast implants have a textured surface that makes it easy for breast tissue to stick to it and keeps the implants in the correct position. If the implants turn the breasts will look crooked and revision surgery has to be performed (this happens in about 5% of cases). The dense, cross linked gel also minimizes folding, rippling, or wrinkling of the shaped implants.
Breast Implant Profile
Breast implant profile determines how far the implant projects out from the chest. There are four types of profiles: low, moderate, high, and extra high. The lower the profile, the more natural the breasts tend to look. This is particularly true with round implants. Low and moderate profile implants can often be used to give the same tapered look that the shaped implants give. The benefit of this approach is that the patient gets the look they want but they get to use implants that are softer and less expensive (round implants are softer because the silicone is less dense, and are almost half the price of shaped implants).
We encourage you to continue to read about breast augmentation surgery. We have a number of other blogs about the procedure, as well as a general information page about it in our procedure section. When the time is right give us a call and see one of our board certified plastic surgeons for a consultation. You will spend about an hour in our office. During that time you will share your goals and have a thorough examination. You will also learn about all the options you have regarding silicone vs saline, incision options, sizing options, and whether you should have your implants placed above or below the muscle. You will also get to try on implants in a “fitting session,” as well as see what your results might look like using our Vectra 3-D imaging system. We look forward to meeting you soon.