Making the decision to get breast augmentation is exciting and leads to several other choices you’ll have to make to ensure the results meet your cosmetic goals. Many of those options involve breast implants. At my Sacramento, CA, plastic surgery practice, I have in-depth conversations with breast augmentation patients during the consultation to help them fully understand the factors involved when choosing breast implants.
Most patients focus on implant size, which is understandable given that the point of breast augmentation is to increase the size of the breasts. But to get results that look natural, it’s important to evaluate other issues regarding the implants and have an open mind when it comes to the size you select.
In this blog post, I’ll describe the 5 factors you need to consider when you choose breast implants.
Women typically arrive at their consultations with a fairly good idea of what implant size they want, but those beliefs may be based on results they thought looked good for a friend or family member. The same-size implants, though, can create very different outcomes for different people. A patient’s body frame—does she have a wide or narrow chest, for example—plays a significant role when choosing implant size. For patients who want natural-looking results, choosing implants that are in proportion with the rest of the body is more important than the size of the implants.
Another thing to keep in mind is that bra sizes are not an accurate measurement when discussing implant size because they aren’t standardized. You may need a D-cup bra for one brand and a C-cup when wearing a bra from a different maker. Implants are measured in cubic centimeters (cc).
An implant’s profile determines how much it projects from the chest—essentially, what the results look like from a profile view. This factor is overlooked by many if not most, patients when thinking about their choices of breast implants. You have several implant profile options to accommodate the width of your frame and breasts. Profile choices typically include low, moderate, and high (although moderate plus or ultra-high are sometimes offered). As the profile increases, the width of the implant decreases. Midrange profiles usually produce the best results, although high profile breast implants may be a good choice for patients who have narrow chests and want a significant increase in the size of their breasts.
In most cases, patients choose either saline or silicone gel implants. Breast augmentation patients at my Sacramento practice, however, also have the option of the Ideal Implant. This structured saline implant combines some of the benefits of both saline and silicone implants—the implant shells are filled with saline but hold their structure the way silicone implants do. The FDA approved the Ideal implant in 2014.
Most patients choose silicone gel implants because they tend to look and feel more like natural breasts. Some women prefer saline implants.
A plastic surgeon creates a pocket for the implants during breast augmentation surgery. This can be in front of the chest muscle (behind the existing breast tissue) or behind the chest muscle. The placement of the implants influences how they look and feel after the procedure. An “above the muscle” placement (subglandular) is appropriate for women with enough existing breast tissue to camouflage the edges of the implants.
Placing implants behind the muscle often produces results that look more natural, especially for women with minimal natural breast tissue or thin breast skin.
This is something that applies primarily to silicone gel implants. The consistency of cohesive gel that fills the shells varies, so some implants have a firmer feel than others. Highly cohesive silicone gel implants tend to be a bit firmer than the traditional round, gel-filled implants. When they’re placed under the muscle, though, they can have a natural feel.
Getting the optimal results from your breast augmentation surgery requires choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in the Sacramento and Roseville areas. It’s also wise to ask to view breast implant before and after photos to help visualize your results and see your surgeon’s track record.