Getting breast implants can be an exciting experience. When you first begin thinking seriously about the procedure, you may naturally start to daydream about getting a new figure, a new look, and a new sense of self-confidence.
However, getting breast implants can also be overwhelming. It is very normal to feel daunted by the range of possibilities, including different choices for implant material, size, and shape. The best way to make an informed decision is by working closely with a trusted plastic surgeon, who can advise you and answer any questions you may have.
Take a Long Look in the Mirror
When choosing breast implants, it is crucial to think about how they will look in relation to the rest of your body. Think in terms of proportionality, ensuring you choose implants that match your frame. To do this, you will need to consider your height, weight, shoulder width, hip width, and current breast size. You might also take measurements of the distance between your breasts.
As you analyze your body, it is also important to consider how much loose skin you have; you will need sufficient tissue to cover the implants without any rippling. A woman with a sturdier frame can carry the weight of large breasts much more comfortably than a woman with a petite frame.
Consider Your Wardrobe
As you think about your body, you should also spend a few minutes contemplating the clothing that you own. Getting implants will naturally change how this clothing fits. If you have a lot of low-cut dresses and you want to fill them out better, then opting for larger volume may be the best way to display the cleavage you seek. But if you are hoping for results that are more discreet, you may opt for a smaller implant size.
Think About Your Age and Fitness Level
There are a number of other personal considerations to make as you seek the right breast implant size, including considerations of your age and fitness level.
You want breast implants that will look good in the long run, not just in the immediate future. As you get older, your breasts are naturally going to droop or sag a little, and that effect will be more pronounced if you get a larger size. (This is because the ligaments that hold those larger, heavier breasts in place will lose their natural elasticity.)
Are you done having children? If you think having children is in your immediate future, then you may want to wait to get breast augmentation. If, however, you think it may be a few years before you start having children, then having the procedure now may be reasonable.
Finally, think about your lifestyle and your level of physical activity. Very large breasts may not be as desirable if you are a runner or have an otherwise athletic lifestyle.
Learn How Breast Implants are Sized
As you prepare to meet with your plastic surgeon to discuss getting breast implants, it will be helpful to learn more about how implants are actually sized.
Of course, your surgeon can walk you through it, but one of the main things to know is that implants are not sized in the same way that bras are. Many women go to their plastic surgeon saying that they wish to achieve a particular cup size, but this is generally not the best way to proceed. The main reason is that all bra manufacturers determine cup sizes differently, so it is an imprecise measurement.
If breast implants are not measured in terms of cup size, how are they measured? They are measured in cubic centimeters or cc’s. For reference, 30 cc equals one ounce. So, a 10-ounce implant is around 300 cc’s, and 300 cc’s on you may look completely different than it did on a friend who also had 300 cc’s.
Your surgeon can show you some examples of what these different breast sizes look like. The main point, for now, is to make certain that you know the best way to think about implant sizes, not in terms of cup size, but in terms of cc’s.
Exploring Shape and Profile
Implant size is important, but there are some other factors to consider, as well. Two of the main ones are implant shape and implant profile.
There are two main breast implant shapes: round and teardrop. Both have their pros and cons, and your plastic surgeon can help you determine which one better aligns with your aesthetic goals.
Some basic characteristics of these implant shapes are:
- Round implants will offer the same level of fullness all the way around. Also, even if round implants rotate, it will not affect the overall appearance of your breast. While some women find round implants to look unnatural, others actually prefer them because of their all-around fullness.
- Teardrop-shaped implants offer more fullness on the underside of the breast, below the nipple. Teardrop implants can rotate, which can cause the breasts to take on an odd shape. This may require surgical intervention to correct. In addition, teardrop implants have a textured surface that has been rarely associated with a lymphoma. For that reason, our doctors do not use teardrop implants.
Another factor to consider, and discuss with your plastic surgeon, is implant profile. This refers to the “height” of your implants or how far they project. High-profile implants will have more projection and look more prominent than implants with a more moderate profile.
There is no one “correct” decision; it simply depends on the kind of results you want. Some patients say that a more moderate profile looks more realistic, while others prefer the more dramatic appearance of high-profile breast implants.
And What About Implant Type?
As you choose between different sizes, shapes, and profiles, you will also need to decide on implant material. The two main options are saline implants and silicone implants.
- Have an outer shell made from silicone but are filled with sterile salt water.
- Are usually less expensive than other types of implants.
- Sometimes feel firmer than natural breast tissue.
- Are more prone to “rippling” effects.
- Are made entirely of synthetic silicone, which is made to feel like natural human fat.
- Typically look and feel more natural than saline implants.
Another option to think about is the “gummy bear” silicone implant. These implants are made from a more cohesive silicone and tend to retain their shape better than other implant types. These are newer than other implant types and carry a longer warranty. Your plastic surgeon can help you determine which implant material is the best fit for you.
Try On Different Implants
As you meet with your plastic surgeon to discuss different implant options, you may also be offered the opportunity to try different implant sizes. Because implants in a bra may not be exactly what an implant inside your body will look like, doing a “rice test” at home will be your best guide to choosing a size. One of our patient coordinators will gladly explain the rice test to you.
There are a couple of different ways in which surgeons can let you visualize how each implant will look. One option is to use a “sizer,” which is basically a special bra that you can put on, showing you roughly how different implant sizes will look on your body. Another approach is to use 3-D imaging software, which can create a digitized version of your bust and allow you to get a more precise glimpse into different breast augmentation outcomes.
This is a big decision, and you should do as much due diligence as possible to guarantee you are totally satisfied with your final choice of implant size in cc’s.
Listen to Your Plastic Surgeon
Ideally, your decision will be one that you and your plastic surgeon arrive at together, and both feel good about. Your plastic surgeon is very experienced and will make some recommendations, but, in the end, the final decision is yours.
Take Your Time
As you weigh all of these different factors, take as much time as you need and try on as many implants as you like until you are totally confident in your decision. Be sure you have a plastic surgeon who will respect your right to go slow and make a fully informed decision.
Find a Plastic Surgeon You Can Trust
As you seek breast implants, one of the most important things you can do is find a board-certified plastic surgeon who can help you get the results you are after.
If you happen to be in the San Francisco area, we would love to meet with you at Plastic Surgery Associates. We also offer virtual consultations for your convenience. Our doctors are ready to answer any questions you may have about the breast augmentation process and to help you make a fully informed decision about your implants.
To schedule a consultation at our practice, reach out to Plastic Surgery Associates at any time.