Ultimate Guide to Breast Implants: What Breast Implant Size, Shape, Type and Texture is Right for You?
Breast augmentation remains one of the most popular cosmetic procedures worldwide. Nearly 1.5 million breast augmentation surgeries were performed globally in 2015 — a 10 percent increase from the year before.
If you’re looking to get breast implants in the near or distant future, first off, congratulations! You’ll soon join the millions of patients who have undergone this life-changing surgery and are thrilled with their results.
Before even stepping foot into a surgeon’s office, you’ll likely feel both excited and anxious. Don’t worry, though. These feelings are perfectly normal. A fear of the unknown can make anyone a bit nervous. Before meeting with your cosmetic surgeon, you’ll likely be brimming with questions.
In order to answer many of those questions, Dr. Bernard Beldholm has created this helpful guide to help you decide what breast implant size, shape, type and texture is best for your body. It will provide you with nearly everything you ever wanted to know about selecting the right implants for you.
This guide has extensive information on how to choose breast implants that will give you a great-looking result. There are several things to consider when choosing implants, such as:
- Silicone implants vs. saline implants
- Shape and size of your natural breast tissue
- Implant shape (teardrop, round or special teardrop)
- Implant size in CCs
- Implant texture
In this guide, we will cover each of these areas and use 3D imaging to demonstrate the results you can expect with different implants and breast shapes. Further down, you will find videos of Dr. Beldholm explaining the following:
- Top 10 myths about breast implants
- Different breast implant shapes and sizes
- How to create great cleavage
- Different planes in breast augmentation and indications
- Dual plane method in breast augmentation
- Rice bag sizing trick
Breast implant shapes: What you should know
When deciding to have breast surgery, you’ll have several choices to make. Along with choosing the size of your implant, you’ll have to decide the shape of your implant, too. The implant shape you pick ultimately depends on your own aesthetic goals, preferred incision site and implant placement. Your anatomy — including body type, sternum width, chest-wall contour and existing breast tissue — also play a role.
Implants come in two shapes: round and teardrop
They are available with both saline and silicone fill. However, very few surgeons prefer saline implants these days. Silicone tends to be the top choice of most surgeons, Doctor Bernard included. Most surgeons will tell you that silicone feels and looks more natural and tends to ripple less than saline.
Round implants make the breasts project more
Round implants are good for women who want more fullness in the upper part of the breast. These are usually placed under the muscle. Since round implants under the muscle don’t move much, they almost always keep their round shape and position once placed in the breast pocket.
Teardrop implants provide a more natural look but firmer feel
Teardrop implants (aka anatomic implants) are usually less full-looking than round implants. Because of this, they provide a more natural look. However, they can potentially rotate in the breast pocket, which can cause an unnatural-looking distortion. If this happens, then the implant can be flipped back into place. Note that you will not have this problem with round implants.
Round implants are the preferred shape by many women
Many women prefer a smooth, round implant because of the added fullness, lift and cleavage it gives them. These are the tried-and-true implants that women have chosen for decades.
Round implants are less likely to wrinkle
If it rotates or shifts out of position, it is less noticeable than teardrop implants and thus causes fewer difficulties. In terms of safety, round implants may cause fewer complications than teardrop implants.
Round implants can be ideal for women with mild sagging
Because the breast implant shape and material alone can elevate the breasts, it may eliminate the need for breast lift surgery. Smooth implants do not attach to the surrounding body tissue and are usually freely movable within the capsule, which is the tissue membrane or sac that forms around the implant.
Neither the shape nor size of your implant will correct major sagging
Patients with significant sagging will require a combined breast lift and breast augmentation for a youthful, lifted appearance. Implants can make your breasts larger and restore upper pole fullness only to a degree. Consult with Dr. Beldholm if you are unsure if you need a breast lift. Together, you can decide the best approach to giving you the breasts you want.
Both breast implant shapes come in different sizes and profiles
The size and profile determine how far your breasts will project forward from the chest wall. A high-profile breast implant has the smallest base width and produces the most pronounced silhouette. Conversely, a moderate-profile implant has a wider base and a more natural-looking forward projection from the chest.
Round and teardrop implants can either be textured or smooth
Texture allows the implant to attach itself to the muscle and tissue wall. This can prevent rotation, but may be linked to higher rates of capsular contracture. Textured implants are also firmer to the touch than smooth implants.
Teardrop implants tend to cost more
If cost is an issue for you, you may want to take this into consideration when choosing the shape of your implant. Because breast augmentation surgery is considered a cosmetic procedure, insurance rarely covers the cost. Round implants tend to cost a bit less.
Your chest and shoulder width can limit the size of your implants
Fortunately, implants come in different base widths so you can get a size and shape that works well with your frame. A narrow chest width means a moderate or high implant might be the right choice since the base of the implant is narrow.
Your current breast size can limit how big you go
This matters because you’ve got to have enough natural breast tissue to cover the implant. If you don’t have a lot to work with, some implants may just be too big to look natural. For additional information on breast implant sizing, please check out our informative article here.
Low, moderate, high and extra-high Implants
This refers to how far the implants project from the chest wall. It ranges from extra-high profile breast implants to low-profile breast implants. Below, we will explain the different profiles in a little more detail:
These implants have the least forward projection. They are usually a good fit for patients with wider chests because they have the widest base.
This was once considered the standard size before additional profiles were introduced. These create what’s usually considered a normal profile, with a round fullness that still adds plenty of volume to the breast. Women with a narrow chest may prefer this, as it can create the appearance of a wider chest. This profile also doesn’t create excessive width on the side.
These are perfect for women with a narrower chest frame and who still want a considerable size increase. This profile also has a decreased chance of rippling. It provides ample projection and fullness.
Extra High Profile
This profile projects much farther and is narrower at the base than other implants. This profile works best for patients who desire a very full and increased projection with the most narrow base possible. Not every woman can carry off this look. Some patients think this profile looks too artificial.
Matching implants to chest wall and patient style
Prior to breast surgery, the implant shape is determined by the width of the patient’s chest wall and how much projection the patient wants. The bigger the implant, the more projection a patient will have. A wider implant achieves better cleavage, but you need the right chest width to pull it off.
In Dr. Beldholm’s experience, some ladies have a very pronounced breast fold, making them at risk for a double fold. For this reason, he recommends using the appropriate type of implant to reduce the chance of this happening.
Types of implant surfaces
Prior to surgery, you and your surgeon will also determine the surface texture of your implants. You’ll have three choices: smooth or textured breast implants.
Choosing the correct surface texture for your implants may feel like a daunting task, so we’ve attempted to make it easier by offering a comparison of each:
Smooth Breast Implants
Smooth implants refer to the surface of the actual implant – it’s completely smooth. This coating is made of silicone elastomer. This smooth surface means that the implant doesn’t stick to the surrounding tissues within the breast, allowing the implant to move around a bit more freely.
While this is similar to how a natural breast behaves, smooth implants can sometimes move too much, shift permanently, or rotate in the breast pocket, which can lead to unnatural looking breasts. Implant drift can occur over time, either to the sides of the chest or further downward on the chest. Smooth breast implants can have an inner filling of either saline or silicone gel. They are the traditional type of breast implants, and the first that were available to consumers on a large scale.
Textured (aka “Rough”) Breast Implants
Textured implants have a textured surface rather than a smooth one. The textured surface (made of silicone elastomer) adheres to the surrounding tissue in the breast, which means that your implants are less likely to drift, and less likely to rotate. They were designed to eliminate the rotation and movement associated with getting smooth implants.
The difference in texture varies a lot from manufacturer to manufacturer. Textured breast implants can have either silicone gel or saline filling. They are probably the most popular type of breast implants at present.
Breast implant brands
There are more than a dozen companies worldwide that specialise in manufacturing breast implants. Some of the major brands of implants include:
- Allergan Inc. (Actavis)
- Establishment Labs
- GC Aesthetics
- Ideal Implant
- Mentor Worldwide LLC (Johnson & Johnson)
Which breast implant manufacturer is the best?
One brand is not necessarily better than the other. It ultimately comes down to surgeon preference. There are instances, however, where some manufacturers of breast implants may not meet a country’s health and regulation requirements.
Breast implant size: Think CC, not A, B, C
While it’s important to listen to your surgeon’s recommendations, ultimately you must choose the size that makes you feel happy. After all, it is your body and you are the one that has to live with your results.
The “natural” look
Dr. Beldholm’s patients often say that they want something natural and want to avoid looking fake. Many patients stress that they don’t want anyone to know they had surgery. Instead, they want to be conservative with their implant size for fear of how they may be perceived by loved ones.
Is bigger better?
However, some women are quite the opposite. For them, the bigger the better. At our facility, a “D” cup is one of our most requested sizes. Most surgeons, including Dr. Beldholm, strive to give patients natural results. Unusually large implants are generally discouraged. The reason is simple: WE WANT TO MAKE YOU LOOK GREAT!
How is implant size measured?
Speaking of sizes, although bra cups are sized A, B, C, D and up, breast implants are not. Instead, they are measured in cubic centimeters, or CC for short.Cubic centimeters are the metric volume measurement used to define the capacity of a breast implant.
One cubic centimeter equals a milliliter, which is the volume measurement used in the medical world. Breast implant sizes for both saline and silicone range from 120cc to 850cc. Obviously, the larger the implant size, the more CCs you’ll need. Click this link for more information about how CCs compare to cup size.
How your natural breasts determine your results
Your current breast size makes a big difference in terms of what your results will look like. Natural breast size combined with the shape and size of the implants determine the final shape. For more information based on your current cup size, check out this link.
What implant shape should I get?
You can choose between a round, teardrop and wide-based teardrop implant. For help deciding, visit this link.
Choosing implant size
3D imaging, rice sizers and implant sizers can give you an idea of the best implant size for you. See this page for more information.
The Rice Test
The rice test is a simple and easy way to get an idea of how you would look with different sizes of breast implants. However, it should only be considered as a way to begin educating yourself about breast implants while preparing for a cosmetic surgery consultation.
You can make a substitute implant using a stocking or Ziploc bag and some uncooked rice. A good size to start with is 300cc (30cc = 30 grams, so 300cc = 300 grams). Using a measuring cup, portion out approximately 300 grams of rice, pour it into the stocking and tie off the top. Place the stocking inside your non-padded bra and try it on for size. You can easily add or subtract rice to try on different sizes. If your breasts appear to overwhelm the rest of your body, be realistic about whether that’s the look you really want and can live with for the rest of your life.
Is it the right size?
Try on different shirts, blouses and swimsuit tops with the rice substitutes in place to get an idea of how you’ll look with larger breasts. Make sure you pay close attention to how the fuller bust line looks compared to the rest of your figure. It should be in proportion. If not, add or remove more rice until you reach the size looks appropriate to you. When you get to the look you want, measure the rice to determine the size in CC. Every 50 grams of rice is equal to 50 CC.
If your breasts appear to overwhelm the rest of your body, be realistic about whether that’s the look you really want and can live with for the rest of your life.
Deciding the final size
After you finish the rice test, you’ll have a better idea of a starting size for your implants. When you go to a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon, he or she may have actual breast implants that you can try on during your visit and/or 3D imaging.
Remember that breast implant volumes don’t necessarily equal a certain bra cup size. For example, a “D” cup for one woman could be a “C” cup for someone else. Don’t get hung up on cup sizes or rice sizers. These are just tools to get you to a starting point.
Dr. Beldholm has performed countless breast augmentations. With his experience, he will help guide you to the correct size implant that fits the look you are hoping to achieve, along with what sizing is realistic for your body type. His goal is to help give you the breasts you want while keeping practical considerations and artful aesthetics in mind.
Additional tips for choosing implant size
Breast implant size ultimately depends on a variety of factors – No one size fits all. However, a consultation with an experienced cosmetic surgeon can help with your decision. When choosing the size of your implant, here are some things to consider:
Start by viewing before and after photos online
Viewing Dr. Bernard Beldholm’s before and after image gallery can give you an idea of what to expect with your own procedure.
Consider bringing a significant other or trusted friend to your consultation
This can also be a big help with your decision. Of course, don’t feel pressured to make a decision on the spot. And remember, the decision is ultimately yours.
Choose a surgeon who offers a computer-imaging device
3D imaging helps patients visualize what certain size implants will look like on their body. Dr. Beldholm uses the Crisalix 3D breast augmentation simulator to help patients preview the results of their surgery.
Consider your lifestyle
As you try on the rice sizers, don’t just think about how you will look in a swimsuit or low-cut top. Consider your physical activities as well as the kind of clothes you wear every day. After all, this is going to be a decision with long-lasting consequences. You want to avoid a re-operation just because you have found out after surgery that the size as not practical for your lifestyle and preferences.
During your consultation, be ready to clearly communicate your goals
When you can tell you surgeon exactly what your expectations are and the look you’re hoping to achieve, you are more likely to be happy with the end results. Cosmetic surgeons can give you advice and use their aesthetic judgment, but they are not mind readers.