Now that you’ve decided to go ahead with breast augmentation, there are a few decisions you’ll need to make, with the help of your plastic surgeon. Aside from breast implant size, one of the most commonly asked questions about breast enhancement option is what type and shape of implant to get. Use this as a guide to help you navigate your many different options and make the best choices to help you get the beautiful, natural-looking results you want.
Round vs. Teardrop Breast Implants
Teardrop breast implants are relatively new to the breast enhancement scene, while round implants have been around much longer. The main difference between round and teardrop breast implants is, of course, the shape. Many women are now choosing the teardrop shape because has been designed to more closely mimic the natural shape of breasts, where the base is slightly fuller than the gently tapered upper pole.
Round implants, on the other hand, are not tapered and resemble a perfect sphere, which is why many people have come to believe that teardrop implants can create a more natural-looking final result. However, recent research found that even plastic surgeons have a difficult time telling the difference between round and teardrop-shaped implants post-breast augmentation, so round implants can be just as natural-looking as teardrops.
During the study, researchers asked plastic surgeon and nurses to look at pictures of 30 women who’d had a breast augmentation with either round or teardrop-shaped implants. Surprisingly, there was about a 50/50 chance that the correct type of implant was identified, and some plastic surgeons and nurses even changed their minds about their answers when shown the same photos weeks later.
Therefore, the most important factor is that you work with an experienced plastic surgeon who can use the most appropriate surgical techniques to help you get the smooth, beautiful outcome you’re looking for, no matter which breast implant shape you choose.
Saline vs. Silicone
In addition to choosing the right shape of implant for you, you’ll want to discuss the pros and cons of saline and silicone implants with your plastic surgeon. Saline implants have an outer silicone shell and are inserted into the breast pocket before being filled with a sterile saline solution. Because of this, the incisions required for this type of implant are generally somewhat smaller than those needed for silicone implants, as the latter are pre-filled.
“Gummy bear” implants are a type of silicone implant that are teardrop-shaped and filled with a special cohesive silicone gel that is thicker than traditional silicone gel. Due to this thicker consistency, gummy bear implants can hold their shape, even in the event of a rupture, and are therefore a popular choice among many women.
Your plastic surgeon can work with you to help you choose the implant type that best suits your needs and goals.
Submuscular vs. Subglandular
When looking into your breast augmentation options, you’ll probably come across the terms “submuscular” and “subglandular.” These refer to the placement of your breast implants. Submuscular implants are located beneath both your chest muscle and your natural breast tissue, whereas subglandular implants are placed on top of your muscle and below your breast tissue.
Your natural anatomy and lifestyle habits can influence which implant placement type is the best fit for you. For example, women who are very active may opt for subglandular breast implants so that their muscle is left unaffected. On the other hand, women with a smaller amount of natural breast tissue might be better suited for submuscular implants to help camouflage their implants and provide some extra fullness.
Finally, you’ll need to discuss with your plastic surgeon which breast augmentation incision type is the most appropriate for your needs. In general, there are four different ways that your plastic surgeon can perform your breast enhancement:
- Inframammary incision. One of the most common incision types is the inframammary, which follows the crease beneath each breast. Through this incision, your plastic surgeon can easily insert either silicone or saline implants, and you can easily camouflage any scarring underneath a bikini top.
- Periareolar incision. Periareolar incisions trace a semicircle around the bottom half of each areola, which is the pigmented area around your nipples. While this incision type can make any scarring even more discreet, it may not be the best option for women who are planning to breastfeed in the future. If the ability to breastfeed is important to you, be sure to discuss this with your plastic surgeon, as other surgical techniques may be better suited for you.
- Transaxillary incision. The transaxillary incision requires a bit more surgical skill and precision, as it is located in your underarm area, which means that there won’t be any visible scarring near your breasts. However, this method can make it slightly more difficult for your plastic surgeon to access the breast pocket, so be sure you’re working with a plastic surgeon who has experience performing this type of procedure if you think a transaxillary incision is right for you.
- TUBA incision. Like the transaxillary incision, the TUBA method won’t create any scars in your breast area. This method involves creating a small incision near your belly button, through which your plastic surgeon can access the breast pocket. Because this technique offers slightly less precision than the other methods, it’s one of the less common choices.
While your breast enhancement options might seem a bit overwhelming at first, keep in mind that the most important decision you’ll make is choosing your plastic surgeon. Once you’ve chosen a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience performing breast procedures, he or she can help you make well-informed decisions and can guide you through every step along the way.
Dr. Francesco Campanile is a board-certified plastic surgeon who is also fellowship trained in hand and microsurgery. Dr. Campanile knows that making a lasting change to your appearance is a big decision. His calm, professional approach and deep caring for his patients set a tone that will help you feel confident and relaxed while reviewing your options and learning all about the procedures that can benefit you. Request a consultation today to meet with Dr. Campanile in person.