Breast Implant Shapes, Surfaces & Size
All currently available breast implants consist of an outer casing (the ‘shell’ or ‘wall’) and an inner filler material. This inner filler can be saline (salt water), silicone gel or a combination of both.
Breast implants also differ in a number of other ways: their shape (round or ‘tear drop’), their surfaces (smooth, textured or polyurethane foam covered) and finally their size and projection (the amount by which they project forwards).
Round Breast Implants
- Deliver more upper breast fullness
- Sometimes the preferred shape to restore upper breast volume lost through breast-feeding or weight loss.
- Can be inserted through any incision location.
- Being perfectly round, rotation cannot produce any deformity of breast shape.
‘Tear-Drop’ Breast Implants
- Provide more fullness in the lower half that tapers off towards the top
- Produce an attractive and natural straight line drape of skin from collarbone down to nipple
- Can only be inserted through an incision under the breast
Please note: Polyurethane foam-covered tear drop implants (“Furries”), unlike textured ‘tear drops’, have been reported as having a zero incidence of shape deformity due to rotation of the implant.
Breast implants also vary in their surfaces. Until 2008, the only choice in Australia was between smooth and textured (also called ‘Rough’) implants.
However, Australian women now have an additional choice in the form of polyurethane foam covered silicone implants. These still have silicone gel as their filler material but the implant wall is coated with a fine, 1-2mm layer of polyurethane foam. Manufactured to the highest quality in Germany by Polytech for over 25 years and used in over 60 countries worldwide, the foam coating gives them a ‘furry-feel’ – hence their colloquial name “Furries”.
Polyurethane foam covered silicone gel implants represent the most significant addition to the range of breast implants available in Australia since gaining TGA approval in 2009.
However, polyurethane foam covered silicone implants do require a special technique of insertion with which not all surgeons are familiar. As a result, and unfortunately for patients, not all breast augmentation surgeons are offering these proven safer implants, despite the many overseas studies confirming that they dramatically reduce the most common reasons for repeat surgery: capsular contracture and implant displacement (moving away from their original position):
- Polyurethane foam covered silicone implants have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of the of revision surgery in capsular contracture, compared to smooth and textured Implants (refer table below).
- Polyurethane Foam-Covered Silicone Implants adhere like ‘Velcro’ to the implant pocket walls and virtually eliminate the risk of the implant rotating, descending or moving away from its original position like Smooth & Textured silicone implants can do. The Allergan Core Study reported in 2008 that such implant ‘movements’ made up the second most common complication after Capsular Contracture requiring revision surgery.
|Smooth Surface||Textured (‘Rough’) Surface||Polyurethane Foam Surface|
|Risk of capsular contracture (CC)||Incidence varies widely in different studies up to 19.1%*||Incidence varies widely in different studies up to 19.1%*||Significantly less: approximately 1%|
|Adherence of implant wall to surrounding tissues||None||Minimal (if any)||‘Velcro-like’ adhesion|
|Risk of implant displacement or rotation of a ‘tear-drop’ implant||Not uncommon||Not uncommon||Displacement should never occur as these have a zero reported incidence of rotation|
|*Source: Allergan Core Study 2010|
Please note that the foregoing information is not meant to convey the impression that we believe that polyurethane foam-covered implants are the only implants a patient should consider. Despite their advantages in greatly reducing the chances of repeat surgery for the above complications, these implants may not be the only choice for any given patient. Nonetheless, we believe that every woman considering breast augmentation should at least be offered the polyurethane foam covered implants for her consideration.
Unfortunately for patients, not all breast augmentation surgeons are currently offering Australian women the opportunity of considering polyurethane foam-covered silicone implants. This may be because these implants do require a special technique of insertion with which the surgeon may not be familiar or skilled in.
How you would you feel if your smooth or textured implants developed capsular contracture or moved out of position requiring further surgery at considerable additional cost? Particularly if your surgeon had not even offered you the choice of polyurethane foam covered implants, which may have prevented the complication.
Naturally, like all implants, polyurethane foam covered implants also have their pros and cons. However, we firmly believe that their major advantages in reducing the risks of repeat surgery for capsular contracture and implant displacement far outweigh any very minor disadvantages.
Accordingly, if you find that the surgeon you are seeing does not offer these implants as a choice, or has limited experience in their use, you owe it to yourself to seek a second opinion from one that does.
The final choice as to size of implant should be entirely yours. Certainly listen to your surgeon’s recommendations but don’t allow him/her to make the final choice for you. Instead, choose the size that you feel gives you the ‘look’ you want and not what you think others may like.
Based on detailed chest and breast measurements, your surgeon at Breast Excellence will hand you all the various implant shapes and sizes that suit your measurements and have you insert them one at a time into a ‘crop-top’ to visualise in front of a mirror the degree of correction each can give you. This is by far the most reliable way to choose the size and shape of implant that will best deliver the ‘look’ you’re after.
Most importantly, although we’ll insert whichever size you choose – provided, of course, it’s surgically possible – we always recommend you choose a size that is in proportion with your overall figure and makes you look ‘great but not fake’.