Women have breast augmentation for a variety of reasons, and each person has a different idea of what ideal results look like. The benefits of getting breast implants aren’t always cosmetic ones, either. Breast implants can improve your self-esteem and help you feel more confident in several areas of your life. Once you’ve determined that you’re a good candidate for breast implants and found the right cosmetic surgeon, you still have a lot of important decisions ahead of you. Consider this your all-inclusive guide to choosing the best breast implants to get the look you want, from selecting the right shape and size to learning how your recovery affects your final outcome. You’ll also learn some important breast implant terms to help you understand your options more clearly.
Your cosmetic surgeon can help you understand what the different shapes of implants might look like on you.
The implant shape you choose plays a key role in what your final results will look like. In general, you’ll be given the choice between teardrop-shaped implants and round implants. Women who want a more natural-looking result may prefer a teardrop shaped implant, which more closely mimics the natural breast. This is why they are often referred to as anatomical implants. Round implants are the traditional breast implant shape, and appear fuller at the top than teardrop-shaped implants. The implant shape you select will ultimately be an aesthetic decision that depends on what you want your breasts to look like.
Size certainly matters when it comes to the way your implants will look, and bigger isn’t necessarily better. In fact, getting breast implants that are too large can cause your breasts to look obviously fake and can even cause adverse effects that may need to be corrected like sagging and implant rippling. Implants are measured in cubic centimeters or cc’s. So, how many cc’s does it take to get that full C cup (or whatever size) you’re looking for? Well, it’s not quite that simple.
Trying to determine the size of implant you want can be confusing since breast implants aren’t measured by cup size in the way bras are.
You can’t go choosing your breast implant size based on cc’s alone. A 330cc implant might look great on one person and be completely disproportionate on another. Talk to your cosmetic surgeon about how you want to look, and don’t be afraid to bring pictures to your breast augmentation consultation. Your cosmetic surgeon will work with you to figure out the ideal implant size. He or she may even suggest two different sizes since many women have asymmetrical breasts.
The right size implants for you will depend on your body type and shape, how much existing breast tissue you have, and what you hope to look like after surgery.
Another factor to consider when thinking about breast implant size is practicality. It’s one thing to fantasize about having a very large chest, but how will those results translate into your everyday reality? Your ideal size is the one that will help you achieve your aesthetic goals without hindering you from living the life you choose.
Your implants can be placed according to your body and your preferences. The two breast implant terms you’ll hear most when talking about placement are submuscular and subglandular.
- Submuscular Placement: For submuscular placement, the implants are placed underneath the pectoralis major muscles. Submuscular placement, sometimes called subpectoral placement, often produces a more natural looking result. This is particularly true for women who are lean and don’t have a lot of existing breast tissue. It can take longer to see your final results when your implants are placed below the muscles, since it takes time for the muscles to relax and allow the implants to drop and settle.
- Subglandular Placement: This is where the implants are placed over the chest muscles. This placement method can be a good option for women who already have some existing breast tissue to help conceal the appearance of implants. It can also make more sense for women who play sports or engage in other activities that involve intense use of the chest muscles. Athletic women who get breast implants may also appreciate the faster recovery time with this type of placement.
Some cosmetic surgeons may even offer split-muscle implant placement, where the implant is placed partially above the pectoral muscle and partially below. Split-muscle implant placement offers some distinct advantages to certain candidates.
The higher the profile, the further the implant will project from the chest.
Another thing to consider is what kind of breast implant profile is best for you. The profile of your implants will affect the projection of your breasts. Projection refers to how far your breasts project out from your chest. The profile that’s best for you will be determined by your anatomy as well as your desired outcome. There are four breast implant profile types to choose from.
- Moderate Plus
- High Profile
- Ultra High Profile
The most popular implant profile type is moderate plus, as this provides a good amount of projection while still giving a more natural appearance.
Saline vs. Silicone Implants
You probably already know that there are two main types of breast implant materials: saline and silicone. Both are safe and effective, but the one that’s right for you depends on your body and your personal taste.
- Silicone: Silicone implants consist of a silicone shell filled with a thick, semi-cohesive gel that can closely mimic the consistency of natural breast tissue. Silicone implants are generally softer feeling and more natural looking than saline, making them a good option for women who have little existing breast tissue. They are less likely to show tell-tale signs of having implants, like rippling. Gummy bear implants, so called for the resemblance their gel filling bears to the beloved candy of the same name, are growing in popularity. One reason for this is that gummy bear implants can retain their shape better than traditional silicone implants. All types of silicone implants are approved for women 22 years of age and over.
- Saline: Saline implants have an outer shell that is made of silicone. The shell is filled with saline, which is a sterile solution of salt and water. Saline implants tend to be more firm than silicone implants and generally do not feel like human fat in the way that silicone implants do. Saline implants can be placed into the implant pocket while they are still empty, requiring smaller incisions. Since they can be filled after insertion, your cosmetic surgeon can manually adjust the amount of saline in each implant during surgery. Saline implants are approved for women 18 years of age and older.
Textured vs. Smooth Implants
When using breast implant terms, the words textured and smooth refer to the outer shell of an implant. An implant with a textured shell adheres to the tissue around it, holding the implant in place within the breast pocket. This is particularly advantageous for teardrop shaped implants that must remain in place in order to look the way they were intended to. Implants with smooth shells do not attach to the tissue in this way and can move around within the implant pocket. This works for round implants, since their consistent shape allows them to “flip” around inside the chest without causing any difference in the way they look.
Understanding Incision Types
Inframammary incisions are the most commonly used placement for breast augmentation surgery.
Many women considering breast augmentation are concerned about the size and placement of their incisions, as well as whether there will be noticeable scars after they have healed. Your cosmetic surgeon will work to keep your incisions as small and inconspicuous as possible. Incision placement is typically determined by the type of implants you have.
- Inframammary: An inframammary incision is made in the crease at the bottom of the breast. This method allows your cosmetic surgeon the greatest control for placement, and is generally used when silicone implants are being inserted. This method is often recommended for women who plan to breastfeed in the future, since there is no risk of damage to the nerves around the nipple and areola.
- Periareolar: Periareolar incisions are made along the bottom of the areola. This can be an ideal method for the placement of saline implants, which don’t require a large incision to be inserted. This is often considered the least noticeable breast augmentation incision placement.
- Transaxillary: A transaxillary incision is placed in the armpit. An advantage of this method of placement is that there will be no visible scarring on the breasts, but transaxiallary placement is only recommended in a small number of breast augmentation procedures.
Follow any incision care instructions your cosmetic surgeon gives you and avoid direct sun exposure as this can cause your scars to darken.
Tips for Getting Your Best Results
Getting the best possible results from your breast enhancement procedure goes beyond understanding all the options for implant types. There are a lot of things you can do to get the most from your breast augmentation and ensure that you end up with results you love.
- Pick implants to complement your figure. Remember, proportion is more important than size when it comes to getting great looking breast augmentation results. Don’t get stuck on a particular size or shape. What works for someone else might not work for you.
- Trust your surgeon. You have to trust your cosmetic surgeon to help you manage your expectations about the procedure and to help you choose the implants that are going to give you the best results possible. This is one reason why it’s so important to select a surgeon who is experienced with breast augmentation.
- Keep your expectations in check. How much you love your results also depends on the way you think about breast augmentation. People who understand what getting breast implants can and can’t do are more likely to be happy with their results. Breast augmentation can help you achieve a more proportionate figure and to feel more feminine. Like any other cosmetic procedure, though, breast implants will not fix self-esteem issues.
- Do it for the right reasons. What are some good reasons to get breast augmentation? If you want implants to correct breast asymmetry, help you achieve the feminine contours you want and to boost your body confidence, you probably have a healthy outlook on breast surgery. If you’re choosing breast augmentation for the wrong reasons, even the best results may not be enough for you.
- Know how to look at before and after pictures. Looking at before and after pictures at your cosmetic surgeon’s office is an important step toward choosing the best breast implants for you. To get the most out of the experience, you have to know what to look for. Find pictures of people whose body types are similar to yours to get an idea of how a particular size and shape of implant might look on you. You should also look for consistency in lighting and body positioning in each photo. Finally, ask your cosmetic surgeon whether any of the “after” photos are the result of a breast augmentation combined with a breast lift.
How Your Recovery Affects Your Results
If you want your breast implants to look amazing, it’s critical to follow your cosmetic surgeons aftercare instructions closely.
Making all the right decisions in terms of size, type and placement of your breast implants will go a long way toward ensuring great results. What you do in the days, weeks and months after your surgery also has a major impact on how your final results will look. Follow any advice your cosmetic surgeon gives you for improving your breast augmentation results. Get plenty of rest and don’t push yourself to do too much too soon. Wear any compression garments for as long as your cosmetic surgeon instructs you to wear them. Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water and recruit friends or family to help take care of you while you recuperate. Finally, be patient. It can take several months before you’ll see your final results. In the meantime, take good care of yourself and be confident that you chose the very best implants for you and that they’re going to look great.
Other Things to Consider
To ensure that you are as happy with your new breasts as possible, consider the following factors as you decide on implants.
When you’re caught up in the excitement of choosing your breast implants, it can be easy to overlook practical details like how overly large implants could affect your ability to enjoy the activities you love.
- Your activity level and lifestyle: As previously mentioned, you have to consider how your implants will affect your ability to do the things you enjoy. Talk to your cosmetic surgeon about the sports and activities you take part in, and about special concerns for athletic women getting breast implants.
- Your personal style: Your sense of style can help offer some clue about the size and shape of implant you’ll be happiest with. Think about the kind of clothes you are most comfortable in, as well as what kind of clothes you’d like to be wearing after your augmentation. Do you think ample cleavage looks great or do you prefer a subtler look? Think about the kind of bras that will look best with your new breasts, as well as the kind of swimsuits you plan to wear.
- Timelessness: Will you still love your breast augmentation results when you’re a little older? If you go really big (or really small), will you be happy with that choice 5 or 10 years down the road? Do your tastes tend to stay the same or do you find yourself wondering “what was I thinking?” when looking back at the things you liked a few years ago? Use the answers to these questions to help you make a sensible choice about what kind of breast implants are going to make you happy for many years to come. Talk to other women who have had breast implants for some insights and be sure to share your thoughts with your cosmetic surgeon, who may be able to offer some helpful advice.
Combining Breast Augmentation with a Breast Lift
Choosing the right size, shape and placement of breast implants is an important part of getting your best possible results. It’s also a good idea to consider whether you might benefit from having a breast lift along with your implants.
When deciding which breast implants are best for you, consider how they will look alongside any other procedures you plan to have.
Breasts can lose fullness and appear saggy for many reasons including weight loss, pregnancy and as a result of the natural aging process. Implants alone won’t correct sagging breasts. This is why breast implants and a breast lift are often done together as part of a mommy makeover. Your cosmetic surgeon can help you decide whether combining your breast augmentation with a breast lift is the way to get the look you desire.