Not All Breast Implants Are Created Equal
Not all breast implants are the same. Obviously, there are many different sizes, but there are also different shapes, profiles, textures and fill materials. Breast implants can be grouped in two major categories: saline (or salt water) and silicon (or gel, sometimes called gummy). However, within these groups there are several different choices which are important to make to get a good result with breast augmentation. Breast implants have different profiles. A moderate profile implant is used most often. This is a flatter implant that gives a very natural looking result. However, sometimes a high profile implant may be required. This implant is narrower and has more projection. It will prevent the the implant from extending beyond the sides of the chest in an thin individual who wants to go to a larger size. There is also a moderate profile plus implant which has a profile between that of the regular moderate profile implant and the high profile implant.
All implants are either textured or smooth. The texture looks similar to Velcro placed on the outer surface of the implant. It was developed to help reduce breast firmness after surgery. However, if the implant is placed behind the muscle it does not prevent firmness any better than a smooth implant. The textured implant will also not move on the chest. When you lie down, instead of the implant flattening and going to the side of the chest like a smooth implant, the textured implant tends to stick straight up.
There is also a tapered or tear drop implant (sometimes called a anatomical implant). This implant is thinner at the top and fuller at the bottom. This implant is sometimes used to give a natural flow to the breast to prevent a “balloon ” look. However, if you go behind the muscle you will get a natural look with a round implant because the top of the muscle compresses the top of a round implant giving the tapered look. Also, the tapered implants are all coated with the texture mentioned above and they will not move on the chest.
In summary, whenever possible, we try to use the flattest implant that will fit the chest with a smooth surface to give the most natural look and feel to breast augmentation.
Franklin Richards, MD, FACS
American Society of Plastic Surgeons