Breast Implants – Picking the Right One
Part 2 of a 3 Part Series
In part 1 of this series, we discussed the pros and cons of saline and silicone implants. If you didn’t have a chance to read that installment, please start there (Part One) and come back here when you’re done reading.
In this installment, we’ll talk about sizing and profiles.
What Size Should I Choose?
When we talk about the size of a breast implant, we refer to its volume. This is the amount of filling material it contains and is referred to in cc’s. Implants range in volume from 100 cc’s (this is VERY small and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of this volume) to 800 cc’s (this is very large and would look unnatural on most women considering breast augmentation). In my practice, most patients choose an implant in the 275 cc to 450 cc range.
When considering what volume is right for you, you may be talking with your friends about what size they have or looking online at “goal” photos considering the size implants that were used to achieve that look. It’s important to realize that the same size implant can look VERY different on women of different heights, weights, and existing breast volume. A 275 cc implant may be somewhat large on a 100 pound patient with A cup breasts or make a negligible size change in a 180 pound woman who wore a 38B bra prior to surgery.
When I’m meeting with a patient for a breast augmentation consultation, I start by asking her what size bra she wears and what her goal size is. I honestly can’t guarantee her of her goal size bra, since sizing will vary depending on manufacturer, the presence of padding, and whether the patient is actually wearing the right size bra (many women are not). I ask this goal question, however, to get an idea of the ballpark we’re aiming for. Based on this information and measurements I take during the exam, I can guide the patient toward an implant size range that I think will achieve her goal proportions. We then work with implant sizers to see which implants she prefers.
Once we know roughly the volume that the patient likes, then we consider the profile of the implant. For a given implant volume, there are several different versions or profiles that are filled with that amount of material. Depending on the manufacturer they’re called by different names. I use mostly Mentor implants and their profiles for round implants (we’ll talk about shaped implants in part 3 of this series) are Moderate, Moderate Plus, High, and Ultra High. On the Moderate end of the spectrum, the implants are wider and flatter, while on the Ultra High end of the spectrum the implants are narrow and have a lot of projection (they stick out from the rib cage with a more cone-like shape). Most patients prefer the look of a Moderate Plus or High profile implant.
We may choose an implant profile based on the patient’s goal look, but often we pick the profile based on her goal volume and the measurements of her chest. We don’t want an implant that’s wider than a woman’s chest (nobody likes side boob), so sometimes it takes a higher profile implant to achieve the goal volume within the confines of a woman’s measurements.
If you’re considering breast augmentation, don’t get too caught up in trying to choose the profile of the implant you want prior to your consultation with a plastic surgeon. Having an idea of what you may prefer can be constructive, but just understanding the concept (which you do now!) is helpful so that the options discussed and preliminary decisions made during your consultation aren’t overwhelming.
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