How Do I Choose the Right Type of Implant?

The decision to undergo breast augmentation surgery is highly personal. Women seek the procedure for a variety of reasons - from correcting asymmetry to restoring volume after pregnancy or weight loss, to wanting to feel sexier or more confident - and each woman has a different idea of how “ideal” results might look.

At Shape Clinic, we strive to help every patient achieve her desired outcomes by acting as a guide for the full scope of the procedure. From consultation to recuperation, it is our mission to help you navigate the complexity involved in choosing implants, choosing placement, preparing for surgery, and enjoying a healthy recovery. One of our most important tasks will be selecting the type of breast implant that is best suited to your body type, lifestyle, and aesthetic objectives. There are several factors to consider when making this choice:

TYPE: Silicone or Saline?

Breast implants fall into two primary categories: saline or silicone. Saline implants are filled with a sterile salt water solution. Silicone implants are filled with silicone gel. Both feature a silicone outer shell. Dr. Liew and other surgeons worldwide prefer silicone implants for their patients due to their natural look and feel. With adequate breast tissue and an experienced specialist plastic surgeon, your silicone implants can be nearly undetectable.

On the other hand, saline tends to offer a firmer feel and in patients with less breast tissue, rippling is more likely to occur. During your consultation, we will discuss the key differences in look, feel and performance to make the best choice for your goals. Dr. Liew will ensure the implants you select will provide the outcome you want.

SHAPE: Round or Teardrop?

Implant shape plays a vital role in the look of your final results. Round implants are what many visualise when they think of breast augmentation, since this was the traditional choice for augmentation. They are circular and symmetric, which provides more fullness in the upper area of the breast and can create a more “enhanced” look if that’s what you prefer. In patients with adequate breast tissue, round implants can offer a beautiful, natural look and shape, particularly when a moderate profile is used.

Teardrop implants have more volume and projection in the lower half of the implant. They are designed to mimic the shape of natural breasts, although they can also feel firmer in the lower portion of the breast. When augmentation is not performed by an experienced surgeon like Dr. Liew, there is also a small risk of rotation with teardrop implants that could require revision surgery.

TEXTURE: Smooth or Textured?

The surface of your implants may be either textured or smooth. Smooth implants are typically softer and have more natural movement. However, because they lack friction with the surrounding tissue, smooth implants may shift around within the implant pocket. In patients with lower quality tissue this can lead to bottoming out or excessive movement even a few years after the procedure. Movement is particularly an issue for asymmetrical teardrop implants.

The rougher surface of a textured implant grips the surrounding tissue and helps anchor the implant in its proper place, which is advantageous for teardrop implants. However, the thicker shell of textured implants can feel less natural to the touch. In recent years, textured implants have been associated with a rare form of cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma or ALCL. This cancer often forms near the implants, although it is not technically a breast cancer. When detected early, ALCL is highly treatable.

PROFILE: Moderate to Extra-High

The profile of a breast implant affects how far the breast projects forward from the chest wall. A lower profile implant remains closer to the body and may yield a more natural-looking result, while a higher profile implant extends farther from the body to create a more prominent breast. The profile that’s best for you is based partly on personal preference and partly on your body type. To help you decide which is most appropriate, we will evaluate the current size and shape of your body and breasts, as well as the final look you desire.

SIZE: Think Outside the Cup

The most common question women ask before breast surgery is “What size should I choose?” Many factors go into choosing the ideal implant size, and it’s not unusual for patients to change their minds several times during the process. Dr. Liew will assist you in the selection of the right size for you based on the outcome you hope to achieve.

Keep in mind the final size you achieve during augmentation will depend on the amount of natural breast tissue you have as well as the implant size. Your friend may get an implant that would look very different on you due to the amount and laxity of breast tissue you each have. We encourage you not to think in terms of cup size when selecting your implants, which varies by brand, but according to feel and appearance instead. Review reference pictures and try on sizers to identify the implant volume that appeals to you aesthetically and is most likely to suit your lifestyle. You will also discuss this subject at length with Dr. Liew during your consultation and 3D animation using the Vectra imaging system will also be used to increase your confidence in the implant size you choose.

PLACEMENT: Subglandular or Submuscular?

Though not technically about the type of implant itself, the placement of your implants is another critical decision to make before surgery. All breast augmentation requires a pocket to be created in which the implant is placed. The pocket can be formed in one of two places: over the chest muscle (subglandular or submammary) or under the chest muscle (submuscular or subpectoral).

The submuscular approach involves a dual plane technique that involves the amount of pectoral muscle that will be released to accommodate the implant. Dr. Liew will discuss the type of dual plane technique that will ensure the best coverage for your implant and the best cosmetic outcome. You will also discuss whether submuscular placement is the optimal option in your situation, or if subglandular might provide a preferred result.

At Shape Clinic, we are committed to offering personalised care and firmly believe that collaboration between physician and patient regarding size, type, surgical technique is essential to a successful procedure. An open dialogue is the best way to ensure you are comfortable throughout the process and happy with your breast augmentation results. Call us on +61 2 8356 2888 or visit our contact page to schedule your consultation