How to Choose Your Breast Implant Profile and Shape

When seeking a breast augmentation, it can be difficult to navigate all the nuances of the procedure at first. Patients must not only consider the size of their potential implants, but also a number of other variables, each of which can significantly impact the results of their surgery. At our Santa Barbara office, we make it a point to keep our patients informed about our practices, allowing them to make the best decisions for their bodies.

Two factors involved with breast implants are an implant’s profile and shape, which can be just as important as size in many ways. Patients who are undergoing breast augmentation should consider how implant profile and shape will play into the lasting results of the procedure.

What Is Implant Profile?

The profile of an implant refers to the degree to which it extends outward from the chest. It is similar to size in that a higher profile will make many breasts appear more prominent or full. However, profile does not alter the volume of an implant; rather, it determines how that volume is distributed. Therefore, both size and profile should be considered together. By adjusting the profile accordingly, patients can achieve breasts that are filled out in the desired areas.

Types of Implant Profiles

There are essentially three types of profiles: low, moderate, and high. In some cases, patients are better off with a specific profile due to their body type, while other patients may have more leeway in the decision. Each profile can be summarized as follows:

When dealing with breast implants from different companies, remember that labels are also likely to differ. Some brands refer to their lowest profile as “moderate” and their middle profile as “moderate plus.” Regardless of the nomenclature, speak with your doctor about the specific differences offered by the profiles available to you.

Differences In Implant Shape

If you plan on receiving saline-filled implants, you need not worry about their shape. All saline implants come in a relatively round shell, although they will conform to the shape of your breasts due to surrounding tissue and gravity.

If you are considering silicone implants, however, two options may be available. In addition to round implants, silicone gel can also come in a teardrop shape, which more closely resembles the natural contours of a breast. Before choosing an implant, take a moment to weight the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Round vs. Teardrop Implants

Cosmetically, teardrop implants are generally regarded as more natural looking. When combined with an appropriate profile and size, they can produce some of the most realistic results. This can be particularly beneficial for patients with small natural breasts who are upgrading to a significantly larger size, who would otherwise have difficulty achieving such results from round saline implants.

However, the appearance of your augmentation is not the only factor worth deliberation. In order for teardrop implants to remain in place without flipping around, the implant’s shell must be textured. This gives the implant an increased hold on surrounding tissues, but as a result, teardrop implants also have an increased rate of rippling – a cosmetic irregularity in which the skin seems to have dimples or folds. Even then, there is no guarantee that the implant won’t rotate.

Make Smart Choices for Your Augmentation

When you are ready to begin the augmentation process, come in for a consultation. Dr. Mackenzie will discuss your goals for treatment and help you make the right decisions regarding your plastic surgery procedure. Call or email our office for more information or to get your first appointment underway.

Douglas J. Mackenzie, MD

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