Breast Implant Selection - What You Need to Know

Breast Implant Selection - What You Need to Know

Bra w: implants underneath

The reality is there is a size for just about everything. When it comes to pants, tops, dresses, bathing suits, sunglasses, and shoes, we all know the right fit makes all the difference in the world in how we look and feel. Breast implants are no different. Use the guide below to help you understand all of the nuances of breast augmentation.

Understanding Breast Augmentation

Common Issues After Surgery

The #1 complaint plastic surgeons hear from women after breast augmentation ” I wish I would have gone bigger.” There is nothing worse for a plastic surgeon to hear from their patient after surgery. Your happiness is their happiness, so it’s tough to hear they have let you down. We cannot stress enough how important it is to listen to the advice of your plastic surgeon. Hopefully you have selected a board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience performing breast augmentation with proven results and a stellar reputation. Assuming so, don’t let yourself be one of the many women who wish they would have listened to their surgeon and gone bigger. One of the key points to remember is that an implant placed under the muscle is going to be somewhat compressed causing it to appear as though it is smaller. Going a little large will compensate for this and get you closer to your ideal size.

Another complaint is the placement of the implant – this happens when the implant pocket isn’t correctly positioned, which can cause the implant to sit too low or too high. Implants placed to high can cause an overdone obvious “boob job” and implants placed too low can create the appearance of saggy breasts. The truth is any plastic surgeon can perform a breast augmentation, but it takes one that is highly experienced with a true understanding of the procedure, body proportion and the patient’s goals. He/she must know how to properly place and position the implant to achieve a well proportioned result.

Trust the Opinion of Your Surgeon

When the patient is given the opportunity to choose their own implant size, this can cause more harm than good. Women truly don’t understand all of the factors that go into determining the ideal size. Chest wall measurements, shoulder width, hips, height, weight, and more, all play part in the type and size of implant best suited for the patient. The breast augmentation consultation should include an evaluation which includes measurements, amount of breast tissue skin elasticity, and nipple position. All of this information, along with input from the patient about their desired result, allows the surgeon to to determine what size, shape, and type would work best. In some cases, a surgeon may give a size range to consider. By the end of your consultation, you should have a much better understanding of what implant is best suited for you, and be prepared for it to be quite different than you may have had in your own mind.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better, But Too Small May Be Too Small

Some patients go in knowing they want very large “in your face” breasts, however they don’t understand there can be issues with big implants. The implants have to fit your frame, if they don’t, it can cause a uni-boob effect and/or the overage will fall into the armpit area. If the surgeon selects an implant that better fits the width of the patient’s chest, then to accommodate the demand for more volume, a high projection implant can be used. In these instances, the excessive projection can create what is called a “torpedo effect.” This look is very unnatural. Selecting an implant that is too large for you can also cause the skin to be over-stretched resulting in the visibility of implant imperfections, such as ripples and folds. And, some women have complained the appearance of stretch marks where there weren’t any before. For those who prefer a conservative augmentation, issues with selecting too small of an implant can range from wide cleavage, persistent breast sag if present prior to surgery, disappointment after surgery because breasts still look too small.

Implant material - Saline vs. Silicone

There are two main types of implant materials – silicone and saline. Silicone implants have improved over the years. Currently there are two types offered – standard gel and cohesive gel (a.k.a. gummy bear). Standard silicone gel is soft, mushy, very pliable, and is a liquid consistency. The cohesive gel implant is truly like a gummy bear. If you cut it in half, the silicone inside is firm and doesn’t flow. “Gummy bear” implants are still soft and feel more natural like real breasts. They are firmer than standard gel, so they feel a little different. Cohesive gel implants hold their shape, which allows them to made into a teardrop (a.k.a. anatomic) shape rather than the standard round shape found in all other implant types. The shaped implants provide a more maternal natural appearance, with less volume at the top and more fullness at the bottom.

Saline implants are not nearly as popular as silicone, because they lack the natural look and feel that silicone offers. All saline implants are made with a silicone outer shell and have a valve where the saline is inserted at the time of surgery. Saline is a good option for women who are fearful of silicone and having a foreign substance in their body. Women with significant asymmetry between their breasts may also be better candidates for saline, because the implants are filled at the time of surgery, allowing the surgeon to customize how much saline is placed in each implant. Saline implants may also be a better option for women wanting a more dramatic structured result, especially in the upper breast area. Recently, a new saline implant was approved by the FDA called the Ideal Implant. This new technology is the first of its kind to provide the look and feel of silicone with the safety of saline. Read more here.

Saline:Silicone:Ideal

Look and Feel

The “bigger is better” trend of years past isn’t as common with the mainstream population any longer. There has been a definite shift in the U.S. towards women wanting augmented breasts which look and feel as close to natural as possible, however this does tend to vary by region.

In most situations, silicone implants are going to be the best option for achieving these goals. Depending on just how natural a woman wants her breasts to look, could mean selecting a teardrop shaped cohesive gel implant. This is frequently the case with women in the Mid-West.

For women who have a reasonable amount of their own breast tissue, saline implants may be preferable. Breast tissue tends to be mushy and causes the breast to lack good shape. Using a silicone implant can help provide structure and better contain the tissue, resulting in a perkier more youthful breast appearance. The feel of the saline isn’t as important in these cases, because the woman’s own breast tissue helps maintain a natural feel.

Final Note -

During the consultation process it is important to express your breast augmentation goals. Find and print picture of breasts you like from the Internet. Images give him/her a visual of what “look” appeals to you, however it’s important to keep in mind your body is unlike anyone else’s, so it’s impossible to obtain the exact look of another woman. There are many factors, which play a role in the result which can or cannot be achieved with surgery.

You must also be be diligent with doing your homework about any plastic surgeon your are considering to perform your breast augmentation.

Keep this list in mind as you do your research:

  • Look for a surgeon who is board-certified in the field of plastic surgery
  • Who has years of experience with breast augmentation
  • Has a good bedside manner and truly listens to what you are saying, as well as addresses any concerns or questions
  • Friendly professional staff
  • Variety of implant choices (type, size, profile, shape, etc)
  • Extensive before/after photo gallery with results you like
  • Performs surgery in an accredited outpatient surgery facility
  • Works with board-certified anesthesiologists

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