The decision to have breast augmentation is only the first step in what can be a lengthy process. After choosing a suitable clinic and plastic surgeon, questions concerning type and size begin. Most women don’t realise just how many different types of implant there are available and beyond that, each type and size will create a totally different look depending on the individual. Although a decent physician will go through the process step-by-step and should have enough experience to advise, it’s always worth having your own store of knowledge on the subject to help guide the procedure in the right direction from the start.
There is no ‘one size fits all‘ approach to breast implants. Practitioners don’t work with the regular cup sizing system as this is unreliable, completely disregarding the dimensions of the chest and back for example. Also, one size of implant can look completely different on one person to the next, so instead, a system of cubic centimeters is used (cc). One woman may need 300cc of implant to get her desired ‘C‘ cup look, while another may need 400cc because their frame is larger.
There are a number of different methods to help patients understand sizing, with the Mentor Volume Sizing System being an excellent tool for this. The FDA approved implant designers have devised a system whereby patients can ‘try on‘ various sizes to get an idea of weight and proportion. It’s also a good idea to bring in images of the type of size you like on other women because sometimes it can be difficult to communicate what look a patient is trying to achieve.
There are a number of useful factors to consider when choosing breast implant sizes.
You’re implants should be an appropriate fit for your body.
How active you are will have an impact on your final decision. Women who take part in a lot of physical activity will become hindered by very large implants.
This should be taken into account. If the patient is modest and has a more natural look then they should steer away from more prominent implants. At the same time, vivacious women who want to achieve a striking look may be disappointed with an understated shape.
Regardless of advice it is down to the patient to make the final call. Limitations would only be placed on breast augmentation if the procedure compromised safety, where the physician would then advise something that could achieve the look without the danger of stretch marks, for example.
Silicone vs saline
FDA (American) approved breast implants will either be made of silicone gel or a saline fluid. Both types have the same outer shell but the contents will affect both the overall look and the cost. For most women having breast enlargement, silicone implants give a far better shape. For women who have had some type of previous reconstruction, have a deformity in the chest wall, have one breast significantly larger than the other or need a breast lift then silicone implants might be used for purposes of reconstruction.
Silicone implants have come a long way. Current models are made of semi-solid silicone rubber in layers with a strong shell that isn’t porous. They can round or tear drop shaped, which tend to give a more natural look.
The sizes of the implants come in around 25cc to 30cc increments up to 400cc and then jump up in around 50cc increments so if the difference in breast size is between these measurements then some asymmetry will remain.
Implants are now offered in different shapes to help achieve the best look. ‘Teardrop’ are slimmer at the top and gently increase to a fuller cup near the bottom to mimic the natural breast silhouette. They tend not to be as full as a round silicone, but are a good option for narrow women who want to create volume without seeming top heavy. Round implants are circular and can give a more augmented look.
Breast implants can be placed in front of our behind the pectoral muscle. Placing an implant in front of the muscle tends to give a rounder look. The implants don’t move during strong muscle contractions and feel soft. In contrast implants placed behind the muscle will often give a more natural appearance, maintain their appearance better long term, especially in slimmer women and resist problems such as capsular contraction and rippling better than implants in front of the muscle. The latest advance in implant placement is to put the implant partially behind and partially in front of the muscle, in a dual plane position. This tends to give the best of both worlds and is increasingly being preferred by Surgeons.
The term ‘profile’ is usually used to describe how far the implant projects forward from the chest, in direct relation to the width at the base. The higher the profile, the more prominent the silhouette. Implants are made in a range of profiles from moderate to very high projection with a smaller width at the base.
Moderate profile implants have minimal projection so don’t stick out too much from the chest. These are great for wide chests to balance and flatter size but don’t create such a striking, augmented look.
Moderate-Plus profile implants project more and are tapered so they don’t create excess width at the sides of small, naturally narrower chests. However, it’s important to remember that these can put pressure on the breast tissue so a suitable size is essential. This profile is thought of as the most universally flattering style.
High profile implants give maximum projection from the chest wall with a narrow base to accentuate the fullness. These create an excellent cleavage, but a too-large size can cause an overly artificial look.