If you're considering breast enhancement surgery, selecting the right implant size is crucial to reaching your goals. The profile, or projection, of implants is among the most significant decisions for patients to make with their plastic surgeon. A patient's body frame, desired augmentation size, and other factors can all dictate whether moderate, high, or another profile of implants is the best choice. Understanding the role implant projection plays in augmentation planning is important to patient satisfaction.
Selecting the right projection of implants is a critical tool for achieving reaching a patient's goals. While medium and high-profile implants are used most commonly, there are a number of other options available to individuals considering breast augmentation. Regardless of whether you are aiming for a subtle enhancement or a more noticeable outcome, the "profile" of your implants is an important tool for satisfaction. In this article, you'll learn about implant profile, the differences and similarities between your options, and how to select the right option for you.
About Breast Implant Sizing
Today's safe and FDA-approved breast implants are typically made of a silicone outer shell filled with silicone gel or salt water (saline). Breast implants come in a variety of configurations.
Depending on your unique goals, your treatment plan may specify:
- Size: Based on width, height, and projection
- Filler Material: Saline, Traditional Silicone, Highly Cohesive Silicone ("gummy bear")
- Shape: Round, Anatomic ("teardrop," "shaped")
- Outer Covering: Smooth, Textured
Individual treatment plans can also specify variations in implant placement to achieve a desired final look.
The size of an implant is determined by its width ("base width"), height, and projection ("profile"). When researching breast implants, patients most often encounter notations on breast implant size in "CC," or cubic centimeters. However, this is only one of the factors that can determine the appearance of your breast implants. A qualified surgeon should review and discuss all of the following factors that affect breast implant sizing and volume.
The width is one of the most important determinants of appropriate implant size. The biggest factor in determining the right measurement for base width is the dimensions of your natural breast tissue. Your surgeon will typically make a recommendation that closely mirrors the width of your natural breasts and make small adjustments accordingly. Significant deviation from the width of your natural tissues is typically not recommended because it can result in unnaturally shaped breasts.
Implants come in a variety of heights. Round implants typically have identical heights and widths. Shaped implants are available in low, medium, and tall heights. Your frame size, height, natural breast tissue, and goals can impact the correct breast implant height measurement for your goals.
Depth, or Profile
While terminology can vary significantly according to manufacturer, the most common profile variations of breast implants include:
- Moderate Plus / Moderate High
- Ultra High
Generally speaking, the higher the profile or depth of your implant, the more "projection" you will achieve with augmented breast tissue post-surgery. Lower profile implants can result in a more natural appearance, while higher profile implants create a more dramatic before and after.
Typically, saline implants have more projection than silicone. The dimensions of the high-profile silicone implant are very similar to the dimensions of the moderate plus saline.
Which Breast Implant Profile is Best?
Most commonly, women select moderate or moderate plus profile implants. These options can represent a middle ground between modest low profile implants and the significant look of high-profile implants. The final result balances the patient's desire for significant augmentation while still appearing natural.
High-profile implants produce extra fullness in the upper breast and extra projection, which may be too large, dramatic, or enhanced looking for some patients. High-profile implants are most often reserved for patients who desire a very noticeable before and after change, patients who have a significant amount of hollowing after breast feeding or weight loss, patients who are very petite but desire a fuller augmentation, or patients who are undergoing breast reconstruction after mastectomy.
High-profile implants may be the right option for you if:
- Your goals include more projection than can be achieved with moderate profile implants
- You desire significant upper breast tissue (upper pole) fullness
- You have significant tissue deflation from breastfeeding, weight loss or aging
- Your natural tissues are very "stretchy" or pliable
- Your natural breast tissue is very minimal, necessitating larger implants
- You have a narrow base width (i.e.,. "petite" frame) and desire a fuller augmentation
Low profile implants are most often used for patients who want a very subtle enhancement. Ultra high-profile implants are best suited for women who desire extremely noticeable augmentation, or who are seeking complete reconstruction of the breast after mastectomy.
Which Breast Implant Profile is Right For Me?
Ultimately, there is no single "best" implant profile. However, there is an ideal size for each patient, depending on their frame size, anatomy, breast tissue, and goals. Deviating away from this ideal size can result in unnatural appearance, safety issues, unnecessary risks, and dissatisfaction with your outcome.
When choosing an implant size, we typically recommend the lowest profile possible for the size a patient wants, without having the implant width exceed the natural base width of the breast. Ultimately, consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon is the best way to determine the right volume and dimensions for your breast augmentation surgery.
The right surgeon will review your anatomy and goals, and make recommendations on the right implant type, size, and shape for your unique needs. If your surgeon is not open to listening to your goals or does not discuss the possible consequences of implant size choices, you should consider finding a new plastic surgeon.
For more information on Dr. Larry Fan's breast augmentation surgeries and a gallery of before and after results, click here!