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What are the different types of breast implant?

11th September 2017

When you are considering a breast augmentation, there are several types of implants from which to choose.

With your surgeon, you will consider options such as:

  • The material of the implant - typically saline or silicone

  • The shape of the implant - depending on your desired outcome, choose from round or teardrop shapes

  • The size of the implant - will be determined by the diameter of the implant and its projection

  • The projection of the implant - or the ‘profile’, this is how far the implant will extend from your chest. The lower the projection, the more subtle the overall look  

We are all different, so the desired outcome of your surgery will vary. You should also consider your lifestyle, body type and build and discuss this with your surgeon when you are choosing the type and size of your implants.

The size of your breasts following your augmentation will be determined by the diameter of the implant -  the ‘fullness’ of your breasts - and its projection - how ‘prominent’ you’d like your breasts to appear.

What materials are used to make breast implants?

  • Saline implants - filled with sterile salt water, saline implants provide a uniform shape and firm feel. Should the implant shell leak, the implant will collapse and the saline will be absorbed, before being naturally excreted by the body

  • Structured saline implants - essentially identical to classic saline implants, with the only difference being an inner structure which is designed to make the implant feel more natural  

  • Silicone implants - filled with silicone gel and often believed to feel more like natural breast tissue, silicone implants need to be monitored by your surgeon via ultrasound more frequently than silicone post-surgery. Should the gel leak, it may remain inside the implant shell, or it may seep into the breast pocket. The implant will not collapse.

What are the different shapes of breast implants?

Implants come in a variety of shapes, all of which will impact on the final look of your breast post-surgery:

Form stable implants:

Also known as ‘gummy bear’ implants, this type of implant maintains it shape, even if the outer shell breaks. Filled with silicone gel of a consistency thicker than traditional silicone implants, they also feel firmer. They have more projection at the bottom and taper towards the top.

If this type of implant moves or rotates, the resulting shape may look odd, necessitating a separate procedure to correct. Gummy bear implants also require a longer incision in the skin to insert them, which should be taken into consideration with regards to scarring post-surgery.

Round implants:

If you are seeking a fuller look post surgery, round implants may be the ideal choice, as they typically make your breasts look fuller than form-stable implants. If you choose a high profile, the projection will be greater.

As they are the same shape all over, round implants are less likely to rotate out of place.

Teardrop implants:

Also known as anatomical implants, teardrop shapes have more volume at the bottom and resemble an oval shape from the front.

Designed to create a more natural shaped breast, they are often used for reconstruction surgery, or for those will little volume in the chest.

Teardrop implants are usually textured, to prevent them rotating when they are in place.

What are the different textures of breast implants?

The texture of implants vary, with different outcomes with each:

Smooth implants:

The softest feeling implants and able to move within the breast pocket, smooth implants often give a more natural feeling. They may, however, move or ‘ripple’ under the skin.

Textured implants:

Less likely to move around within the breast pocket, textured implants develop scar tissue which sticks to them.

What are the different profiles of breast implants?

Also known as the projection, you can choose how far your implants will extend from your chest by your choice of profile.

Low profile implants:

The smallest forward projection, this type of implant is ideally suited to those with wider frames

Moderate profile implants:

The most popular, these implants give a natural, rounded appearance with plenty of volume. They are ideal for creating a wider looking chest

High profile implants:

These implants provide a more pronounce projection from the chest, ideal for those who do not want to add width

Extra-high profile implants:

The largest projection, these are ideal for a prominent look and suit those who wish to maintain a narrower chest, with a more pronounced depth.

Whichever implants you choose, always ensure you keep an eye on them and attend any follow up appointments with your surgeon.


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