One of the common questions I see online is “how do I choose from all the breast implants?” What I would say to anyone who asks is this: choose the right plastic surgeon, they will help you sort through the various implants.
Saline or Silicone; round or anatomic; smooth or textured; high, moderate or low profile – these are just some of the decisions that need to be made in choosing the right implant. When you combine these variables there are hundreds of options for breast implants. This is one reason why Plastic Surgery is a 5-year residency and the reason that you as the consumer should not have to choose from all of the breast implants. After having a formal consultation with a plastic surgeon, you should really only have to choose from some of the implants. Three or four at most if your surgeon knows what he or she is doing.
The choice of implants should start with a consultation with the surgeon where a medical history will be taken and a physical exam performed. Your surgeon should have a discussion with you at this point about what your goals for surgery are – what you want to look like afterwards. Women may desire a figure that is slightly enhanced, natural looking, or noticeably augmented. It is good to bring in pictures to help with this point in the process.
Your goals for surgery combined with other factors such as how much breast tissue you currently have, whether it is ptotic (saggy), and where on your chest your nipple sits will help your surgeon decide on the shape, surface texturing and projection of the implant that will be best for you and whether you need a lift in addition to the augmentation. Part of the physical examination involves taking some key breast measurements, the most important of these for determining implants is the base width of the breast which will guide us to a range of implants that are appropriate for you. At this point, the choice should be narrowed down to 3-4 implant sizes within a range, making the choice much less overwhelming.
At my practice, we then give the patient sizers that correspond to these implants. These are essentially nonsterile versions of the actual implants. Patients will then place these sizers into their bra under a tight t-shirt to see how their breasts might look after surgery. Of course, if the patient wants to be a bit bigger or smaller we can move up or down from this initial range, but at least we have a reasonable starting point to work with.
At first glance, choosing breast implants might seem like an overwhelming task but if you work closely with your surgeon and their staff, it can be a straightforward and even enjoyable experience.