Breast augmentation has remained the most popular type of cosmetic plastic surgery in the United States because the procedure has evolved. The shift in preferences from dramatic-looking breasts to subtler enhancements coincided with the emergence of a range of new implant shapes, diameters, and projections, which allowed—for the first time—for a truly tailored, customized look and feel.
With those nuances comes a host of decisions. In an effort to prepare you for your breast augmentation consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, I’m exploring a few key aspects of the procedure. In my last post, I unpacked the benefits and drawbacks of the different kinds of implants. Here, I’ll get into the roles that implant shape and positioning play.
Subtle enhancement or dramatic makeover?
There are two basic breast implant shapes, round and teardrop, also known as anatomical and contoured, though, within each, there are many degrees of difference in terms of both size and profile. The reason for choosing one shape over another will hinge largely on your aesthetic goals, but it’ll also be influenced by the implants’ placement and your preferred incision location.
Your anatomy—body type, sternum width, chest-wall contour, and existing breast tissue—will also play a big part in the decision-making process.
Round implants, which resemble a compressed ball, tend to be favored for their fullness, lift, and resulting cleavage. Because they’re circular and uniform, there’s minimal variation in fullness or projection between the top and bottom of the implant. In other words, round implants will project, or stick out, further from the body than teardrop implants, for a more dramatic silhouette.
Teardrop implants, on the other hand, mimic the shape of natural breasts. They’re thinner at the top than they are at the bottom, and they gradually slope down from the top to the middle. It’s favored by women who want their breasts to look a little fuller or perkier. In fact, it’s an ideal choice for those who want to correct mild sagging. The implant itself can provide sufficient lift. For those with more significant sagging, a breast lift may need to be combined with the augmentation.
Positioning brings it all together
Both shapes come in a variety of sizes and profiles, which is the term that refers to how far the breast projects from the chest wall. A high-profile implant has the smallest base width and produces the most pronounced silhouette. While a moderate-profile implant has a wider base width and a more modest projection.
Heading into your consultation, it’s good to have a general visual of what you want your breasts to look like, but there’s no need to settle on a size or even a shape until you’re able to review specific examples with your plastic surgeon. I also take a series of measurements that help guide that decision and ensure that the implant is precisely placed in proper relation to the shoulders and nipples. Think of it as equal parts art and science.