Choosing to undergo breast augmentation surgery can be a truly life changing decision, but it’s a big step. There’s a lot of information out there on different doctors, procedures, and types of implants.
One thing we are often asked about is the difference between traditional round breast implants and anatomically shaped breast implants. We are always happy to hear this question because it shows that the patient has done their research, but we know that many who have not yet consulted a plastic surgeon have the same question. So we’ve decided to write down everything you need to know about anatomically shaped breast implants before you make the decision to improve your body and your life!
What is an Anatomically Shaped Breast Implant?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, an anatomically shaped breast implant is made to mimic a real breast. It is “teardrop” in shape with the bulk of the volume being at the bottom of the implant. Originally, anatomically shaped breast implants were created to help those who needed breast reconstruction surgery. The anatomically correct shape made them look more real with and without clothing. Traditional breast implants are round causing the material to be evenly spread out. While standing up, a traditional breast implant will not have quite as noticeable of a natural “teardrop” shape.
Anatomically shaped breast implants have come a long way since their original use for reconstruction procedures. Because of that, they have become more and more common in cosmetic procedures.
- More Natural Look: While traditional implants have come a long way, many patients are still worried about their breasts looking “fake.” The round look of traditional implants is off-putting to some women and prevents them from take the step to improve their lives. Anatomically shaped breast implants solve this problem by mimicking the natural shape of a youthful woman’s breasts.
- Customizable to Your Body: The large number of options and sizes makes it possible for the plastic surgeon to “tailor” the implant to the patient’s body. Volume isn’t the only consideration. Instead, patients can choose the width, height, and prominence of the anatomically shaped breast implant. Patients can also choose how much volume they want in the upper and lower parts of the implant, creating a truly customizable experience.
- Better Able to Maintain Their Shape: Traditional breast implants allow the silicon material to freely move throughout the implant. Running and jumping are perfect examples of the problems this can cause. On the contrary, anatomically shaped breast implants are specifically created to be less “fluid” than traditional implants and maintain their shape. This is because they necessarily have to keep certain amounts of volume in the upper and lower part of the breast. However, this does not mean they are rigid by any means. Feeling an anatomically shaped breast implant is the best way to understand the difference.
Of course, anatomically shaped breast implants aren’t the be all end all to breast implants. Many patients still prefer traditional breast implants for a number of reasons, especially since not all plastic surgeons are experienced in anatomically shaped breast implants. If it’s something you are considering, make sure you discuss it with a surgeon who has utilized them in the past. But before you do that, some of the drawbacks to anatomically shaped breast implants you should know are:
- Lying Down: Because anatomically shaped breast implants are better at maintaining their shape, they will keep that shape even when the patient is lying down. This may cause an unnatural look because the implants will not spread out like natural breasts would; rather, they will somewhat maintain the “teardrop” shape. Traditional implants are better at mimicking natural breasts in this regard because the silicon is able to spread out.
- Volume: Anatomically shaped breast implants focus on shape over volume. For that reason, they are best suited for patients who want to improve the shape of their breasts rather than substantially increase the size. While anatomically shaped breast implants that focus on volume as well are available, there is a limit to the extent that they will look natural.
- Flipping: Traditional breast implants are free to rotate once inserted because they are perfectly round. Anatomically shaped breast implants, on the other hand, must remain in place. Because of this, the anatomically shaped breast implants are usually textured. The plastic surgeon will also need to be experienced with correctly inserting the anatomically shaped breast implant. While the implants can flip, it is a relatively rare occurrence and studies have shown that only occurs in certain brands.
- Price: Anatomically shaped breast implant typically cost more than traditional breast implants. The price difference is not significant, but still true nonetheless. If price is a major consideration for you, perhaps it’s better to have a conversation with your surgeon or put off the procedure until you can afford it.
- Long-term Health: Lastly, a rare cancer was first linked to certain breast implants in 2011. A rare malignancy forms in the immune system called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. In cases linked to implants this rare form of cancer grows in the breast, usually in the area of scar tissue that forms around an implant. Although deaths have been reported, it is usually treatable and not often fatal. The lymphoma is more likely to occur with textured implants (anatomically shaped implants) than with smooth implants (traditional) at a rate of nearly 10 to 1. The reaction to textured implants is clearly different from its reaction to smooth implants. In many cases when this rare lymphoma occurs, removing the implant and the tissue surrounding it eliminates the disease, however some patients may need chemotherapy and radiation. According to the F.D.A, if a woman with textured implants is currently experiencing no negative health issues there is no reason to remove them, emphasizing that the lymphoma occuring with these types of implants seems to be very rare. The F.D.A. does recocommend that doctors consider the possibility of this rare lymphoma, however, both before and after implants of this type.
There are many options available now for breast implants, including anatomically shaped implants with a textured surface. These may still be a good option for you, especially if you have a thin frame.
At Allure Plastic Surgery, we are experiencing very positive results using what are called SRF implants. SRF stands for (S)mooth shell, (R)ound shape, (F)ull projection.
Dr. Elliot Heller tells us: "The new SRF breast implants do the best job yet of maintaining the intended shape of the breast and look extremely natural after surgery."
The smooth shell of the SRF implants do not carry the same (rare) health risk as the textured shell of the anatomically shaped implants, yet the SRF implants yield a nearly identical result as far as presenting a very natural look to the breast, simliar to the anatomically shaped implant results. The SRF implants are available in sizes 180cc to 770cc, so they offer a wide range of enhancement options.
Breast augmentation is a procedure that can truly change your life and price alone shouldn’t determine your ultimate decision. Perhaps the best way to determine whether anatomically shaped breast implants are right for you is to browse before and after pictures. It’s also a good idea to talk to women who have had both types of implants. Your plastic surgeon should be able to put you in contact with women who are willing to talk about their experiences, or you can simply look online. Either way, it is important that you express your concerns with your personal plastic surgeon. If your surgeon has experience with anatomically shaped breast implants, he or she can help you decide which is best for your body. While there is a lot to consider now, remember that breast augmentation will improve your body and your life, anatomically shaped breast implants are just one option to help you reach that goal.