Breast implants for breast augmentation surgery come in many different ways and one of the most common questions among patients is whether you should get a round implant or an anatomical teardrop implant. Aside from shape then you’ll have to find an answer to many more questions such as:
- What size? From 80cc to over 800cc.
- Which surface? Textured vs smooth surface implants.
- Which filling material? Saline vs cohesive silicone gel vs highly cohesive silicone gel (gummy bear) vs structured saline implants.
- Which incision? Transaxillary, periareolar, inframammary or transumbilical?
- Which profile? Low, moderate, high or extra high?
- Which placement? Under the muscle vs over the muscle vs dual plane.
- What surgeon? This will be your most critical decision as it will both influence the answer to the above questions and the results of the procedure.
Don’t worry, your chosen surgeon will help you to go through the many different options and make an informed decision, but it is always best to be prepared to better understand your surgeon’s recommendation.
How to choose breast implant shape? Teardrop vs Round
When it comes to shape, the decision is between two options: teardrop vs round.
Implant shape will depend on many factors:
- Your unique expectations and aesthetic goal
- Your preferred incision site
- The implant placement
- Your own individual anatomy, which includes your body type, sternum width, chest-wall contour, existing breast tissue, nipple position, degree of ptosis (sagging), and other anatomic measurements that will be taken during your consultation.
- Your surgeon’s experience
Teardrop breast implants are also known as anatomical or shaped implants. Like a teardrop, anatomical implants are smaller at the top and larger at the bottom, mimicking the slope and silhouette of a natural breast. Their maximum projection point, the point further away from your chest, is off-center below the nipple. They are often chosen to provide not only a breast augmentation, but also correction of a mild ptosis (sagging of the breast) thanks to their shape. They will not be able to address higher degrees of ptosis or be a substitute of mastopexy surgery (breast lift) if that is needed. They are also chosen by those who feel that round implants tend to look artificial and look for an alternative more natural look.
Teardrop implants are filled with silicone gel or with highly cohesive silicone gel (gummy bear implants) for the most natural feel to the touch; they are not filled with saline. They have a textured surface to prevent them from rotating within the chest as that would compromise the aesthetic result.
The downside of having a teardrop shape and being able to maintain it is that when lying down their volume will not spread out evenly as natural breast or round implants would. If placed and sized properly though, most plastic surgeons agree that even when lying on your back such as at the beach they won’t look more fake than round ones.
Anatomical implants focus more on shape than size, so for people looking for a dramatic increase in size round implant may be better.
Round implants were the first type of implant introduced in the market and are the most commonly used breast implant for cosmetic breast augmentation surgery. As the name suggests, they are round and symmetric in shape: for this reason, they give more fullness to the upper pole, the upper region of the breast, when compared to teardrop implants as well as they provide more cleavage. The fluid within the implant flows freely, following the movements and position of the body such as when lying on your back or when running; this also means that while standing the fluid inside the implant will tend to settle in the lower portion of the implant providing, to some extent, the teardrop effect like the anatomical ones.
The downside of having a round implant is that if you’re petite and/or with little natural breast tissue the round implants will tend to look more unnatural than the teardrop ones.
Teardrop vs Round Implant for Cosmetic Breast Augmentation
- Teardrop implants have an overall more natural look and feel. Keep in mind though, that natural look and feel depends also greatly on other variables such as size, filling material, placement and patient’s anatomy. You may be able to achieve a natural look also with a round implant.
- Teardrop implants are more customizable to your unique anatomical features than round implants. Teardrop implants don’t just have different volumes and profiles like round ones, but also different width, height and prominence of the slope as well as different customizable volumes in the upper and lower part of the implant.
- Price. Anatomical teardrop implants are generally more pricey than round ones.
- Size and Volume. Round implants are best for those who want to substantially increase the size of their breast.
- Teardrop implants fill the lower part of the breast more, while round implants tend to provide more upper pole fullness, lift and cleavage.
- Teardrop implants carry the risk of rotation, while the rotation of a round implant would not compromise the aesthetic result. The textured surface and proper placement by the surgeon are able to prevent this. Nevertheless, this is a possible complication requiring corrective surgery.
- Teardrop implants have a shaped shell, so it usually requires a larger incision for placement when compared to a similarly sized round implant.
- Capsular contracture. From studies, the risk of capsular contracture is lower with textured implants, so choosing a smooth round implant may carry a higher risk of this complication.
- Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). BIA-ALCL is a rare and highly treatable type of lymphoma that can develop around breast implants and it occurs in patients who have breast implants with textured surfaces, with currently no reported cases in women who have smooth surface implants. Current lifetime risk of developing BIA-ALCL is estimated to be between 1 in 2,207 patients and 1 in 86,029 patients. When caught early it is usually curable.
Best natural looking breast implant: round vs teardrop
If you’re looking for a natural looking result following cosmetic breast augmentation surgery the best advice would not be to choose teardrop implants or round implants, but to choose the right surgeon. There are many factors to take into account when looking for a natural result and this can be achieved with both type of implants when choosing a skilled surgeon.
There have been studies were plastic surgeons, nurses or lay individuals were shown pictures of before and after breast augmentation. Not knowing whether round or teardrop implant were used, they were neither able to recognize the type of implant nor they were able to agree on the aesthetic superiority of one over the other.
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
- Capsular Contracture after Breast Augmentation: An Update for Clinical Practice.
H Headon, A Kasem, K Mokbel – Archives of Plastic Surgery, Sep 2015
- Intraoperative Comparison of Anatomical versus Round Implants in Breast Augmentation: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
DA Hidalgo, AL Weinstein – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Mar 2017
- Round versus Anatomical Implants in Primary Cosmetic Breast Augmentation: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review.
F Cheng, Y Cen, C Liu – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Mar 2019
- Essentials of Aesthetic Surgery.
JE Janis – Thieme, 2018
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