Uncertainties about the shape and size of the breast implants are common when considering breast augmentation.
Fortunately, there is a great variety, which allows the results of breast augmentation to be "individualized" according to the patient's wishes.
All your questions are addressed and clarified by the plastic surgeon during the consultation, where the different implants and their characteristics are presented.
Here's a guide with everything you need to know about breast implants: different sizes, shapes, fillings, surfaces and prices.
What is breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation is the most popular surgery for women worldwide. According to data from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 1.7 million women underwent breast augmentation in 2021.
And did you know that scientific studies attribute to this surgery a satisfaction rate between 90 and 99%?
Despite the high demand, there are many questions about the size, shape, filling, coating of breast implants, and even the price.
What are the sizes of breast implants?
Breast implants vary in size, measured in CC (cubic centimetres – a unit of volume).
Sizes vary according to the supplying laboratories, but usually start at just over 100 CC and can go up to 800 CC.
One of the most common questions is: "Which size of breast implant is the right for me"?
There is no "standard" answer to this question, as the ideal size is different for each woman.
The appropriate volume for each patient depends on:
- The desired result;
- Physical characteristics (weight, height, amount of breast tissue, chest width).
The combination of these factors will allow the plastic surgeon to advise a breast implant size that suits the patient's physical structure and desires.
It is important to note that the larger the size of the breast implants, the greater the risk of complications, and there must be a balance between the desired size and what may be a better option in the medium-long term.
Types of breast implant fillings
There are breast implants with different fillings, and they are divided into two groups:
- Silicone gel implants
These are the best-known breast implants and the most used in breast augmentation due to their high degree of safety. They have a consistency more similar to breast tissue and human fat.
Currently, highly cohesive silicone gel filling is used, which in case of rupture does not migrate to the outside due to its high cohesiveness.
The new generation B-Lite implants represent the most important advance in breast implants in the last 30 years. They are 30% lighter than conventional implants and promise longer-lasting results with fewer complications.
- Saline implants
These are cheaper and can be filled in the operating theatre to the desired volume.
They provide a very symmetrical result.
Both saline and silicone gel implants have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
The studies that have been carried out to study their safety show no evidence of increased incidence of autoimmune connective tissue diseases (Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis), breast neoplasia or reproductive problems.
Some studies report that the rupture rate of silicone implants is around 0.5% per year, while for saline implants the rate is 1%.
Types of breast implant coatings or surfaces
Implants also differ in the type of coating. You can choose between:
These implants were the first to appear on the market. They are less commonly used today as they are more difficult to control the position of the implant and are associated with a higher risk of capsular contracture (rejection).
Textured or microtextured surface:
Textured surface implants are made up of an outer part that is rough or textured. This is the most widely used type of implant today as it is associated with a low risk of capsular contracture.
It also adheres easily to the tissues, which benefits healing, and breast augmentation results in the medium/long term.
Because it has greater adhesion, there is less likelihood of rotation - particularly important with drop implants.
- Polyurethane coating:
These are silicone gel-filled breast implants that have a polyurethane coating. The material covering the silicone is characterized by the fact that it adheres even better to the breast tissue, leaving the prosthesis firmly attached to the tissues (called the "Velcro effect").
As a result, they have good adhesion and sag less, with a virtually non-existent rate of rotation. Capsular contracture rates are also low.
Shape of breast implants
In addition to the material from which it is made, breast implants can be differentiated by their shape.
This is an important decision for the result that will be obtained.
The most common breast implant shapes are round or anatomical (drop-shaped).
They make the breast appear larger and more prominent.
If displacement occurs, the shape of the breast remains largely the same.
As it is symmetrical in all its dimensions, it fills all the spaces of the breast equally.
Round prostheses are widely used in cases where there is little volume in the upper pole of the breast.
- Drop-shaped or anatomical
These were developed to achieve an effect more similar to the natural shape of the breast.
They are breast implants that are fuller in the centre and lower part, which will give the breast a more natural shape.
When placed under the pectoral muscle, anatomical implants can take on a more rounded shape, but also very natural.
This type of breast prosthesis is often used when the patient does not want a very marked cleavage effect.
Price of breast implants
The selection of the breast implant is one of the factors that will influence the final price of breast augmentation, which is why all estimates are completely personalised.
The value of implants varies depending on their quality and size. For example, the cost of a 500 CC breast implant is higher than that of a 250 CC implant. B-Lite implants also have a higher price.
As for the shape, round implants are generally cheaper than drop implants.
In any case, never trust low-cost surgeries, as you may be jeopardising your health.
Which breast implant is right for my body?
The decision regarding the size, shape and lining of breast implants should be taken together with the plastic surgeon. After a complete physical examination and understanding of your goals, he will indicate the most suitable type of breast implants.
There are those who want a more natural effect and those who seek a more evident result.
Common sense is essential to reduce the chances of future complications or disappointment with the result.
It is up to the plastic surgeon to advise the patient to achieve good results that adapt to their physical characteristics.
In case this article presents before and after photos please consider them merely demonstrative and may not serve as a reference for your particular case. These images are only to show possible results for one or several surgical procedures. The images we use are of patients who have consented to their use. Any images do not represent a guarantee of results.
Sobre a Médica Especialista
Dr. Luísa Magalhães Ramos / Plastic Surgery
PORTUGUESE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, Nr. 42810
Graduated by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, she specialized in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery, at Hospital de São José, in Lisbon.
Throughout her training, she subspecialized in aesthetic plastic surgery, having worked in world-renowned clinics.
Currently, she is mainly dedicated to face and breast aesthetic plastic surgery and to intimate female surgery.
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