Implants are a lot like iPhones: there are different “generations” that hit the market every few years. A silicone implant used twenty years ago is very different from implants used today, thanks to advances in science. When shaped implants first became available you may have heard the term “gummy bear implant.” If you were to cut open a shaped implant, the consistency of the silicone gel inside would be similar to that of a gummy bear, which is where the nickname came from. The silicone had to be slightly firmer (less runny) than round implants to allow the shaped implant to retain its shape inside the body. Shaped implants are also often referred to as anatomic implants or teardrop shaped implants.
The Plastic Surgery Channel brought together two breast augmentation experts from different parts of the country to discuss the rise in popularity of shaped implants and describe how they go about determining which of their patients are the best candidates for shaped implants versus traditional round implants.
Anatomic, Tear Drop, Shaped…..
“Anatomic or shaped breast implants have gained significant popularity in recent years and have been used routinely by plastic surgeons in breast reconstruction. In the last year to two years there’s been a significant increase in the use of anatomic tear drop shaped implants for cosmetic purposes,” says board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Maman, who has a busy cosmetic and reconstructive practice in New York. “When we do breast augmentation, we’re trying to achieve two things: we’re trying to augment the breast and we’re trying to create a beautiful contour or shape to that breast. I find that in women seeking cosmetic breast augmentation who are very thin, simply augmenting the breast alone doesn’t give them that contour that they want in the long run. Those patients are the ideal candidates for anatomic shaped implants.”
Who is a good candidate?
Salt Lake City based Brian Brzowski agrees with Dr. Maman that women with low body fat benefit the most from have an implant that is shaped like a natural breast.
“In my opinion, the best candidate for the shaped implants is a female body builder who has absolutely no breast shape at all, minimal breast tissue and minimal body fat. One of the benefits of these implants is that they are a lot smoother, ripple less, and they impart that nearly perfect shape to those patient’s breasts.” – Dr. Brzowski
If you put a round implant on a very thin and flat person, your result will be a very round breast. Some patients want the rounded “Victoria’s Secret” breast look, but not all patients. If a very thin person wants to have a more natural looking result, with more fullness on bottom and less roundness on top, the anatomic shaped implant is a great option.
Communication and patient selection are key
“It all comes down to patient selection,” sums up Dr. Brzowski. “There are patients who will do okay with the shaped implant, there are patients who will do awesome with a shaped implant. The majority of patients can do great with either type of implant.” There is no right or wrong answer based entirely on your anatomy when it comes to shaped implants. The answer comes from communicating your desired outcome with a surgeon who has training and experience with all types of implants. By listening to your goals, assessing your body and combining that with their experience, your board certified surgeon will help you safely achieve the result you desire.