Women who choose to get breast implants have a huge variety of implant types to pick from, including whether to go with saline or silicone breast implants, and whether to choose round or teardrop-shaped breast implants.
Round vs Teardrop
Round breast implants are the more popular option and provide the most dramatic improvements in breast shape, projection, and cleavage. Women interested in a more subtle or subdued look will probably find that the more natural shape of teardrop breast implants are better suited to them.
Breast Implant Variables
Some of the other choices you will have to make prior to undergoing breast augmentation surgery include the following.
Silicone, silicone gel, gummy bear, saline, or saline with internal baffles. Silicone breast implants go by different names but all refer to the same thing: They can be called silicone, silicone gel, or gummy bear breast implants. Silicone breast implants are the most popular by a large margin (90+ percent) but they may not be right for you if you’re (correctly) concerned about health risks, or the possibility of a rupture which you would not be aware of, called a silent rupture.
How many cubic centimeters of either saline or silicone is included in each of the breast implants that your surgeon will place in your breasts. The average size of breast implant chosen by most patients is between 250-300cc, but breast implants can be as small as 160cc and as large as 800cc. Eight-hundred cc breast implants are the largest FDA approved implants. If a patient wishes to go larger than this, breast implants may need to be stacked on top of eachother, which is almost never advised. To accommodate natural differences in the size of a woman’s breast, different sized implants may be placed in the left and right breasts, ultimately creating breasts that look as close to matching as possible. Absolute matches in size, projection, and degree of hang are almost never attained, but the slight differences created by most plastic surgeons are almost never very noticeable. (It’s also not only plastic surgeons that create these differences; breasts are not naturally perfectly symmetrical or the same exact size, shape, etc.)
Breast implants are (of course) always placed in the breasts, but they can be placed either above or below certain muscles in the female chest. The two possible placement positions are known as above the muscle or below the muscle; submuscular (below muscle), or subglandular (above muscle, but below milk duct glands).
Breast implants come in a variety of sizes, and a variety of profiles, or shapes when looked at from the side. This is called the profile or profile view. You could consider the profile of an implant as its height: Two breast implants with the same volume (300cc, for example) can still have different profiles, since the base of the breast implant can be made wider or more narrow. The more narrow the base of the breast implant, the higher of a profile it will have (and need) in order to accommodate the same volume of either saline or silicone gel fill. The most popular breast implant profile is called “moderate”
This is what you are choosing when you pick between round breast implants and teardrop implants: What shape are the implants themselves. Profile (above) determines projection of the breasts and breast implants off of the chest wall, but the shape of an implant determines whether that projection occurs uniformly (with round implants) or more naturally, with varying amounts of projection in the upper and lower pole of the breast. Teardrop breast implants provide a more natural profile than round breast implants do, but not everyone who gets breast augmentation surgery wishes to look completely natural, since some men find there may be a sensualness to the surgically enhanced body.
Keep in mind that your surgeon will help you make these choices, but it’s always helpful if a patient has as complete an understanding as possible of what surgery entails, and what she is putting where in her body.
You are your own best advocate.
Beyond the information listed above, you should also be aware of the pros and cons of round breast implants versus teardrop breast implants:
Round Breast Implants, Pros and Cons of
- More lift.
- More cleavage.
- Available in both saline and silicone fills.
- Slightly less costly than teardrop breast implants.
- Provide more cleavage than teardrop breast implants.
- Round breast implants provide a more curvy silhouette.
- Greater forward-facing projection (off/away from the chest wall).
- Round breast implants provide more fullness to the upper part of the breast.
- Can be made to look natural if done right (though less natural than teardrop implants).
- Round breast implants are round, as the name implies. This means that they are round when viewed from the side, or the profile view.
- Health risks associated with round implants are about the same as those associated with teardrop implants. (It’s the texture that makes the biggest difference between safe and unsafe breast implants: Textured breast implants are associated with a form of blood cancer).
Teardrop Breast Implants, Pros and Cons of
- Less fake.
- More natural looking.
- Fail to improve cleavage very much.
- Available in both saline and silicone fills.
- Less mid- to upper-breast fullness added.
- More mass and volume added to the bottom of the breasts.
- Teardrop breast implants were originally designed for use in/by women who needed reconstructive breast surgery such as after a mastectomy.
- Teardrop implants are shaped like a teardrop. This means that when viewed from the side, these implants have a shape that mimics or mirrors the shape of a natural breast. The larger portion of this teardrop is placed toward the bottom of the breast, while the smaller (thinner) portion is placed toward the top of the breast.
- Health risks associated with teardrop implants are the same as those associated with round implants. Some studies suggest that teardrop implants have a higher risk of ALCL, the blood cancer mentioned above.
- Teardrop breast implants provide a more natural and conservative final look.
- Often a good choice for women who lack adequate breast tissue volume.
- Creates a more natural look for women with a smaller frame.
- Best for a subtle and less attention-grabbing look and feel.
- Great for women with less (or very little) natural breast tissue.
- Slightly more costly than round breast implants.
Round breast implants are much more popular than teardrop breast implants due to their unique ability to add upper pole fullness, projection, and greatly enhanced cleavage. But women who want a much more subtle and less head-turning breast enhancement (as well as those who lack sufficient natural breast tissue volume), may be better off selecting teardrop breast implants.
Teardrop breast implants were initially created for women who needed breast reconstruction surgery, and thus were designed from birth to be more natural-looking and not as flamboyant as their rounded cousins.
Featured photo by Andrea Piacquadio.