Breast Implant Options

By Dr Jake Lim – Plastic Surgeon | Updated: February 21, 2024

What You Should Know about Breast Implant Options – Shape, Size, Texture and Placement

Breast implants are medical devices with an outer shell filled with either saline solution or silicone gel. They’re used in breast augmentation procedures to increase the size of your breasts or restore breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy. In reconstructive plastic surgery, they may also be used to restore a natural-looking breast following a mastectomy or injury. The process of choosing the right breast implants may seem daunting at first. However, with the right guidance and a good understanding of your options, it can be a rewarding journey.

Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim aims to provide you with useful insights into the world of breast implants, helping you make an informed decision about your body.

Dr Lim’s 2024 Breast Surgery Guide

Breast Surgery Guide

Breast Implant Size

When it comes to breast implant size, it’s not merely about going bigger. The size you choose should complement your body’s natural proportions, lifestyle, and personal aesthetic goals. You want to achieve a look that enhances your overall appearance while still maintaining comfort and functionality.

Breast implant size is often measured in cubic centimetres (cc), not bra cup sizes. This is because cup sizes can vary significantly among different bra manufacturers and styles. The same woman might wear a B cup in one brand and a C cup in another. The cc measurement of an implant, however, is a constant and precise measurement of volume, providing consistency in the sizing of implants.

Remember, the same breast implant size can look vastly different on different women, depending on their body type, chest width, existing breast tissue, and various other factors. Therefore, it’s essential to have a thorough discussion with your plastic surgeon about your desired look and feel before deciding on the size.

Different Shapes of Breast Implants

Much like size, the shape of your breast implant is another crucial factor to consider. There are primarily two shapes to choose from – round and teardrop. Each shape has its unique attributes and aesthetic effects, so your choice should be based on your desired outcome.

Round breast implants are the most common type. They tend to provide more fullness in the upper part of the breast, giving a more ‘lifted’ appearance. They are symmetrical and therefore have less risk of causing visual distortions if they rotate after placement.

On the other hand, teardrop implants, also known as anatomical implants, have a sloping contour and more volume at the bottom, mimicking the shape of a natural breast. They can provide a more ‘natural’ look, especially for women with little natural breast tissue. However, if a teardrop implant rotates, it may lead to an unusual breast shape.

Other Options for Breast Implants

Beyond size and shape, there are other breast implant options to consider. These include the type of filling – saline or silicone – and the type of shell – smooth or textured. Each option comes with its own set of pros and cons, and the choice often boils down to personal preference and the advice of your plastic surgeon.

Saline implants are filled with a sterile saltwater solution and can be filled at the time of surgery, allowing for a smaller incision. They also tend to be less expensive than silicone implants. But they may not feel as natural as silicone and can sometimes create a rippling effect under the skin.

Silicone implants, filled with a cohesive gel, often feel more like natural breast tissue. Keep in mind that they require a larger incision for placement and are more expensive than saline implants. They also require regular monitoring for ruptures, which can be silent and not immediately detectable.

Breast Implant Profiles

Another essential factor to consider is the breast implant profile, which refers to how far the implant projects forward from the chest wall. Implant profiles can be classified as low, moderate, or high. The right profile for you depends on your body type, chest width, and aesthetic goals.

A low-profile implant spreads out more across the chest, providing a more natural, subtle enhancement. These are ideal for women with a wider chest frame. Moderate profile implants offer a balance between projection and width, providing a more rounded appearance. High profile implants have the most projection and are narrower, making them suitable for women with a smaller chest frame who desire significant enhancement.

The Texture of Breast Implants

The texture of the breast implant refers to the outer shell – it can either be smooth or textured. Smooth implants have a soft, slippery surface and can move freely within the breast pocket. This freedom of movement can result in a more natural feel and movement. However, it can also lead to the implant moving out of position over time.

Textured implants have a rough surface that adheres to the surrounding tissue, reducing the risk of movement and rotation. They are often recommended for teardrop-shaped implants, which need to stay in position to maintain the desired shape. Textured implants have been associated with a slightly higher risk of certain complications, such as anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

Placement of Breast Implants: Subglandular, Submuscular and Dual Plane

The placement of your breast implant, either subglandular (above the muscle) or submuscular (below the muscle), can significantly impact the look and feel of your augmented breasts. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and the best option for you depends on your body type, lifestyle, and desired outcome.

Subglandular placement involves positioning the implant behind the breast tissue but in front of the chest muscle. This method typically involves a shorter recovery time and less post-operative discomfort. But it may not provide enough tissue coverage for women with little natural breast tissue, leading to a higher risk of visible implant edges or rippling.

Submuscular placement involves positioning the implant behind the chest muscle. This method usually provides a more natural look and feel, especially for women with little natural breast tissue. It also reduces the risk of capsular contracture, a complication where the scar tissue around the implant hardens. This type of placement may involve a longer recovery period and more post-operative discomfort.

In some cases, the dual plane placement is preferred. This entails the placement of breast implant partly under the pectoral muscles and partly under the glandular tissue.

How to Choose the Perfect Breast Implant Size for You

Choosing the perfect breast implant size for you is a highly personal decision. It involves a careful balance of various factors, including your body proportions, lifestyle, and aesthetic goals. It’s not merely about picking a number or a cup size; it’s about envisioning a new version of yourself and making choices that align with that vision.

One helpful tool is the ‘rice test’, where you fill a stocking or plastic bag with rice corresponding to the volume of the desired implant and place it in your bra. This can give you a rough idea of how different sizes will look on your body. Keep in mind that this is just a starting point and does not replace a comprehensive consultation with a skilled plastic surgeon.

Dr Jake Lim will also use a variety of measurement tools and techniques, such as implant sizers and bio-dimensional planning, to help you visualise the outcome and guide your decision-making process. Dr Lim will take into account your body type, chest width, existing breast tissue, and other factors to recommend the best size for you.

Risks and Considerations

Like any surgical procedure, breast augmentation carries certain risks and considerations. These can be broadly classified into two categories – those related to the surgery itself, such as infection, bleeding, and anaesthesia risks, and those related to the implants, such as implant rupture, capsular contracture, and changes in nipple or breast sensation.

It’s also essential to consider the long-term implications of your decision. Breast implants are not lifetime devices; they may need to be replaced in the future due to aging, changes in your body, or complications. Regular follow-up visits with your plastic surgeon and periodic imaging tests are recommended to monitor your implants.

Making an informed decision about breast augmentation involves understanding these risks and considerations, discussing them openly with your plastic surgeon, and weighing them against the potential benefits. Remember, the goal is not just to change your appearance, but to enhance your overall well-being and quality of life.

FAQs about Breast Implant Options

FAQs

What are the different shapes of breast implants?

  • Breast implants come in two primary shapes: round and anatomical (also known as “teardrop”). Round implants provide a fuller appearance and are often chosen for their lift and cleavage. Anatomical implants are shaped like a natural breast and offer a more subtle, sloping contour. The choice between the two depends on your aesthetic goals and body type.

How do I choose the right volume for my breast implants?

  • The volume of breast implants is measured in cubic centimetres (cc) and varies widely, ranging from about 100cc to 800cc or more. The right volume depends on various factors such as your body frame, existing breast tissue, and desired outcome.

What are the options for implant placement?

  • There are mainly two options for implant placement: submuscular and subglandular. Submuscular placement involves positioning the implant beneath the pectoral muscle, while subglandular placement puts the implant above the muscle but below the breast tissue. Each option has its pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your anatomy, lifestyle, and desired look.

What types of textures are available for breast implants?

  • Breast implants come in two textures: smooth and textured. Smooth implants are soft and move freely within the breast pocket, giving a more natural movement. Textured implants have a rough surface that helps them adhere to the surrounding tissue, reducing the risk of complications like capsular contracture. Dr Jake Lim can help you decide which texture is best for you.

Can I choose the material of my breast implants?

  • Yes, breast implants are primarily made of either saline or silicone. Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water, while silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s crucial to discuss your options with your plastic surgeon.

How long do breast implants last?

  • The longevity of breast implants varies but is generally around 10 to 15 years. Factors like the type of implant, surgical technique, and individual body response can affect their lifespan. Regular check-ups with ultrasounds are recommended to monitor the condition of your implants.

Are there any risks associated with breast implants?

  • Like any surgical procedure, breast implant surgery comes with risks such as infection, scarring, and anaesthesia complications. Specific to implants, there may be risks like capsular contracture, implant rupture, or asymmetry. It’s essential to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon to understand these risks fully and how they can be mitigated.

Further Reading about Breast Surgery with Dr Jake Lim

Medical References about Breast Implants

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.