Breast implants shape – round or anatomical?

The implants that are used for breast enlargements can other than in terms of content as described in an earlier article also diverge in terms of shape.

The general shapes of breast implants are round or drop shaped (anatomical) implants. What implant provides the best result depends primarily on how much breast tissue, to cover the implant, the patient has.

Round implants more common than anatomical

Based on the combined results from the two largest manufacturers’ of breast implants, Mentor and Allergen (previously Inamed), the sale of implants for breast augmentations in the UK is still greater for round implants than for anatomical breast implants.

Round breast implants

The round breast implants are shaped as a round bun. This implant is suitable for most patients and is available in a vast amount of varieties. They can be filled with saline or silicone, have a smooth or textured surface and come in a large number of different sizes. They are also cheaper than the anatomical implants and are associated with fewer complications since there are no rotation issues.

Breast enlargement surgery (breast augmentation)

Anatomical (drop shaped) breast implants

Anatomical breast implants differ from the round breast implants due to the shape resemblance of a normal breast. This implies that they are a longer shape and have more filling at the bottom than the top. Thus they are meant to create a more natural look. The anatomical implants were first made in order to reconstruct and rebuild breasts damaged by disease or trauma.

Designed for breast reconstruction

Anatomical implants where primarily produced to be used in breast reconstructions in women who have lost a breast. However, they were quickly found to have characteristics which gave them a place in aesthetical surgery. There they have proven to be very useful for patients with little or no own breast tissue. The reasoning for using anatomical implants in such patients is that the breast enlargement is not much different from that of a breast reconstruction. In both cases the breast augmentation is meant to create/build a breast. Exactly what the anatomical breast implants were made for.

Greater choice

An advantage that both plastic surgeons and patients appreciate with the anatomical implants is that they come in three different dimensions – width, height and projection (to what extent the implant builds forward/out of the body). This makes them particularly suitable in those cases when one wishes to balance the size and shape with a breast enlargement. This type of implant is winning more ground since the desire for a more natural result is increasing.

Choosing between anatomical or round breast implants

Since an anatomical breast implant has a more natural shape than a round implant, it can simply feel more logical to choose such an implant and should provide the best and most natural result. But it’s not that simple. Anatomical implants also have specific disadvantages. One of them is that they are more expensive than round implants.

Rotation risk

Due to their shape the anatomical breast implants have shown a tendency to rotate. When this happens an abnormal look occurs and needs to be corrected with further surgery. The risk of rotation is often associated with how the tissue pocket for the implant is modelled during surgery.

In order to minimize the risk of rotation, anatomical implants are only manufactured with a textured (sandpaper like) surface in order for them to heal into and fixate in the surrounding tissue. Consequently, choice is limited for both the patient and surgeon.

Further arguments against the use of anatomical breast implants

In addition to the rotation risk, some plastic surgeons suggest that whether one uses round or drop shaped implants does not really matter since all type of implants, after the healing process, become round. Therefore in their opinion the anatomical implants to not leave a better long-term result than round implants. Others imply that a round implant becomes anatomical once a patient stands up since the content sinks to the bottom and also provides a more natural result when the patient is lying on her back.

What implant shape should I then choose?

To try and reach a conclusion among the surgeons’ opinions we suggest that while a majority of patients can achieve very good results with round implants there are others, mainly women with very little breast tissue, who achieve the best results with anatomical breast implants. Once again it is largely about the patient’s physical condition and personal preferences.

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