There are 2 basic shapes of breast implants to choose from: round or anatomical. Anatomical implants are also called teardrop shaped implants, contoured implants, or shaped implants and they have textured surfaces. They are meant to mimic the slope of a natural breast.
- Round Implants
Ironically, round implants have the most natural looking shape in all body positions. Remarkably, round implants placed under the muscle may have a more natural appearance than shaped/contoured implants which can appear somewhat elongated and even matronly in appearance in some women. A study was performed of women with both round and shaped implants examined by X-ray in both the standing and lying down positions. It was shown that when women are standing, the round and anatomic implants look the same, teardrop shaped. When a woman is standing, gravity works on the round implant to pull it down, and from the standpoint of x-rays, both implants look teardrop-shaped and therefore anatomic. So what happens when a woman lies down? Well, the anatomic implant remains unchanged and maintains its teardrop shape. The problem is, you don’t always want that when you lie down. Natural breasts fall to the side and periphery of the body when a woman lies down, so the anatomic implant is less natural looking when a woman is lying down.
- Contoured, Anatomical, Teardrop Shaped Implants
These are all terms used to describe a breast implant that is manufactured to be pre-shaped like the one pictured. Unlike a round implant, a teardrop shaped implant by design has a top and a bottom. These have a textured surface to avoid the implant from rotating and flipping over. The problem with these implants, however, is that the implants can move, and in that situation, the breast contour can change, often times requiring a trip to the operating room to correct the malposition and switch it to a round device. Unlike round breast implants, a tear-drop implant will maintain the same shape lying down, which can appear unnatural in some women. Some plastic surgeons and women feel that the anatomical implants may reflect a more mature breast, which isn’t always desirable.
Dr. Brown prefers round implants in most women who present for cosmetic breast enhancement. The contours look more youthful and natural in all body positions, and the shape is predictable and stable. It is normal and expected for implants to move within their pocket, and if a round implant moves or changes position it goes unnoticed, and the outward appearance is the same. Most women are looking for superior pole fullness, some want to counteract the mildly sagging, teardrop shaped breast that they already have. Round implants provide the best and most natural looking superior and medial fullness that most women desire. Dr. Brown reserves anatomic implants for breast cancer patients undergoing reconstruction after mastectomy, where lower pole fullness is a priority so that the reconstructed breast looks more like a normal breast.