Round and Teardrop Breast Implants
Breast implants are usually round or teardrop in shape and your selection will depend on how well you understand the differences between them.
Round Breast Implants
Traditionally, round-shaped implants have been the preferred choice for women undergoing breast augmentation in the United States. It is likely that the attractive augmentations seen in fashion magazines and the Victoria’s Secret catalogue are the result of round breast implants. Because round implants are available in a range of diameters and degrees of projection (see: Implant Dimensions), they are flexible enough to fit any woman’s breast or body type.
Round implants have several advantages. They create breasts that are soft and round in appearance, and also well proportioned. This effect is achieved with the help of the soft, smooth implant shell that reduces implant ripples. Fewer implant ripples means less chance of visible implant rippling through the skin. In addition, round breast implants have a more natural, fluid appearance when compared to teardrop implants. In the case of the teardrop implant, when the patient is in an upright position, the upper part of the implant collapses, while the lower part fills with fluid, creating a teardrop shape. If the patient is lying down, the breast implant tends to move to the outside of the breast, creating a flat appearance. Whether a patient is standing or sitting, the round breast implant assumes the position much like the natural breast. Round breast implants can be either saline-filled or silicone-filled.
Teardrop Saline Breast Implants
Teardrop saline breast implants are also known as shaped, dimensional, anatomical or contoured implants. They have been on the market for a number of few years, and are available in several designs. The height, width, and outward projection of the implants also vary. While shaped, saline breast implants may appear to be a logical solution for routine breast augmentation that is not the case, as teardrop implants have never been widely accepted. However, they are generally the preferred choice for women having to undergo breast reconstruction after having had a mastectomy.
There are a number of reasons for the reluctance to use teardrop breast implants for routine breast augmentation. Foremost of all, is the fact that the teardrop implant uses a textured shell. The textured shell is needed to help the implant maintain a fixed, upright position in the breast. Secondly, it is easier to feel a textured shell, and is also more likely to create visible implant ripples, which is not the case with a smooth, round implant. This means that when a patient is lying flat, the teardrop implant will appear firmer and more rigid, and can be easily felt. Finally, the teardrop implant can move within the breast pocket. If this occurs, it can lead to a misshapen breast. Round breast implants also rotate within the breast pocket, but this movement does not affect the shape of the breast, because the implants are symmetrical.
Teardrop Cohesive Gel Breast Implants
Teardrop-shaped silicone gel breast implants were made available on the US market in the summer of 2012. Prior to that time they were available outside of the US, as well as at a small number of study centers in the US. The implants are called ‘form-stable’ or gummy-bear’ implants, because they are designed to maintain their shape. The implants are made in a wide range of teardrop shapes; some are ‘tall’ ovals, while others are ‘wide’ ovals. The silicone filled teardrop implants are softer than the saline filled options, and are also less likely to create implant ripples. The cohesive silicone in these implants creates a firmer effect, therefore unlike round silicone gel implants; they can be more easily felt, particularly in slim patients.
Teardrop silicone implants are made in various shapes, and this provides greater flexibility when fitting the implant shape and dimensions to the desired breast shape. This also makes the implants a great alternative, especially for patients that are concerned about filling a certain portion of the breast, like the upper pole. In this situation, the ‘tall’ oval would be the better option rather than the ‘wide’ oval.
Round vs Shaped – We are here to help
Selecting the breast implant that is right for you is not an easy decision. It requires detailed consultation to determine your objectives, as well as a thorough examination, and discussions about the procedure.
Dr. Song is experienced with the different types of implants used for breast augmentation, and he is able to guide you through the selection process. It is important that you take all the time you need to select the breast implant that is best for you.