You may consider breast augmentation for many reasons, whether you feel your breasts are too small, lacking cleavage, or asymmetrical. Most women report feeling more confident and self-assured after the procedure, appreciating how it allows them to take charge of their bodies. That empowerment actually begins before the surgery even takes place when you work with your plastic surgeon to choose your breast implants.
Here are a few important decisions you’ll make as you plan your breast augmentation.
Choose Your Implant Size
Selecting the right implant size can be challenging. When choosing your breast size, you and your surgeon will consider your lifestyle, how much existing breast tissue you have, and various other anatomical factors. Your plastic surgeon will help you determine if your desired size will fit your frame or if choosing a larger or smaller size is more beneficial.
The best way to convey your ideal implant size is to review before and after photos with your surgeon. Choose the images with patients with a body type similar to yours if possible. Here are a few examples of our patients’ before and after photos below; they had 325ml, 350ml, 400ml, 550ml, and 600ml breast implants respectively:
Keep in mind that breast implants can change the size of your breasts, but they can’t improve moderate to severe breast sagging. If you want to improve sagging, drooping breasts while also increasing their size, it’s usually best to combine breast augmentation with a breast lift.
Choose Your Implant Material
You can choose from FDA-approved saline or silicone gel implants depending on your desired results. Saline implants are filled with a sterile saltwater solution after they are placed inside the breast. Thus, this implant type is often more customizable. Saline implants tend to feel firmer to the touch than silicone implants.
Silicone gel implants are a good option if you want your results to look and feel more like natural breast tissue. They are approved for use in women who are at least 22 years old. For some people, the downside of silicone breast implants is that a rupture can go undetected. To catch potential issues, the FDA recommends that people with silicone implants begin to have MRI or ultrasound screening 5 to 6 years after their procedure and every 2 to 3 years after that. When choosing between saline and silicone gel implants, you should understand both their benefits and disadvantages so that you can make the right choice for you.
Choose Your Implant Profile
An implant profile is how far your implants will project from your chest. The names of the profile choices vary by the implant manufacturer, but they typically range from a low-profile implant, moderate profile, moderate-plus profile, to high profile. Moderate and moderate-plus tend to be the most popular options.
When selecting a profile, consider your options in conjunction with implant size and make sure the profile fits your frame and lifestyle. For example, if you have a wider chest or want a more natural look, low-profile implants may be a good choice for you. Women who want a more dramatic look and have an average or narrow chest are good candidates for moderate or high-profile breast implants.
The patients shown below each had 350ml breast implants, with the first choosing moderate-plus profile and the second opting for high-profile breast implants.
Choose Your Implant Shape
Your options for implant shapes include round and teardrop shapes. Round-shaped implants offer upper and lower pole breast fullness for a more dramatic and symmetrical look. Teardrop implants closely resemble your natural breast shape, with more fullness at the bottom of the breast. This shape is a good option if you want subtle breast enhancement.
What About Natural Breast Augmentation With Fat Transfer?
Fat transfer is a popular breast enhancement option for people who don’t want implants at all, adding natural-looking volume with their own excess fat. During breast fat transfer, unwanted fat is harvested from the abdomen, thighs, back, or hips using liposuction. The fat is purified and injected into your breasts to add fullness and shape. Before you consider a fat transfer procedure to enhance your breasts, discuss the pros and cons with your plastic surgeon.
You have several complex decisions to make during breast augmentation, but your plastic surgeon will steer you in the right direction. At UVA Plastic Surgery, we want all our patients to experience the best and safest results after breast augmentation. You can see more of our patients’ breast augmentation results in our before-and-after photo gallery.