Learn about the shapes & feels of breast implants.
Breast implants have been used in the U.S. since the 1960s, but didn't become truly popular until the 1980s. Since then, breast implant design has been evolving, leading to a diverse range of shapes, sizes and materials. Today, breast implants, both silicone and saline are approved by the FDA.
Saline Breast Implants
A silicone shell holds a specific volume of saline. They arrive from the manufacturer without saline but filled with air. Once the saline breast implants are properly in place, the air is released and replaced with saline.
There are two distinct advantages when choosing saline breast implants:
- If there is a rupture, it is noticeable and the body absorbs the fluid without health risk
- The complication rate is lower with saline breast implants, specifically with capsular contracture which can be 2-3 times higher with silicone implants
Silicone Breast Implants
A silicone shell filled with silicone gel. They come in a round implant and a tear-drop shaped implant also called anatomic. There is another option, the so-called gummy bear implant, that is filled with cohesive silicone gel which is firmer to the touch, feeling a lot like the popular candy treat.
Breast Implant Shapes
Generally breast implants are either round or anatomic (tear drop). Round implants are by far the most popular shape used in breast augmentation, primarily because if the implant rotates, it it perfectly fine. That is not true with the tear drop shape. These have a top and a bottom, or a vertical aspect, that must be maintained to achieve the desired look. For some patients, the tear drop shape with great volume on the bottom, is the perfect solution for them, re-enforcing how valuable it is to have plenty of one-on-one time with your surgeon during the consultation.
Breast Implant Profiles
The final piece of the breast implant baseline information is the profile, or how far out from the chest wall the breast protrudes. You see this best from the side and is termed "projection." Generally there are three profiles offering varying degrees of projection.
- Moderate offers a conservative projection and has a round shape and wide base
- Moderate Plus combines a higher profile with a wide base
- High Profile offers what one might consider a voluptuous profile due to its high profile and narrow base