How to Choose the Best Breast Implant Size

Your Guide to Choosing the Right Breast Implant Size with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan

Deciding to undergo breast enlargement is a significant and very personal decision. It involves various choices, the foremost among them being the size of the breast implant that best suits your body and aesthetic goals. The right size not only enhances your physical appearance but also boosts your confidence and comfort with your body.

With years of experience and a deep understanding of the nuances of breast enlargement, Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan is dedicated to helping his patients achieve their desired outcomes through a personalised approach. This blog aims to guide you through the process of choosing the best breast implant size, considering not just aesthetic desires but also anatomical suitability and lifestyle needs. Read on to learn more about the factors you should consider before making a decision, the latest advancements in implant technology, and how to prepare for your consultation to ensure the best possible results.

2013 - Breast Augmentation by Anthony MacQuillan 45 Left

Breast Implants Overview

Breast implants are medical devices surgically placed to enhance the size and shape of a woman’s breasts, commonly for cosmetic reasons or as part of breast reconstruction after surgery. There are primarily two types of breast implants: silicone and saline, each with unique characteristics and benefits.

  • Silicone Implants are filled with a silicone gel that feels much like natural breast tissue. Most women choose silicone implants because of their natural feel and the variety of shapes and sizes that can tailor to individual needs. The gel inside the silicone implant acts cohesively, meaning it maintains its shape even if the implant shell breaks. In such cases, the silicone gel usually remains either within the shell or escapes into the breast implant pocket, minimising potential complications.
  • Saline Implants, on the other hand, are filled with sterile salt water. They are inserted empty and filled once in place, allowing for adjustable size during the surgery. Saline implants provide a firmer feel and are slightly less expensive than silicone implants. A significant advantage is that if they leak, the saline will be absorbed and naturally expelled by the body, which makes the leak easier to detect.

Both types of implants can come in various shapes — round or teardrop (anatomical). Round implants usually make breasts appear fuller than teardrop-shaped ones and have a higher profile, which means they project more from the body. Teardrop implants are shaped more like a natural breast and are often chosen by women seeking a subtler enhancement.

Implants are also differentiated by their surface texture: smooth or textured. Smooth implants have a softer feel and can move within the breast implant pocket, giving more natural movement. Textured implants develop scar tissue to stick to the implant, making them less likely to move around inside of the breast and decrease the risk of a complication known as capsular contracture.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Breast Implant

Choosing the right breast implant is a decision that requires thoughtful consideration of various factors. It’s not just about the size; the shape, type, projection, and how it complements your overall physique are vital to achieving the desired aesthetic and functional outcome. Here are some factors every prospective patient should consider before deciding on breast implants:

1. Anatomical Considerations

Your body’s natural anatomy plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate implant size and type. Important anatomical factors include:

  • Breast Width: The width of your breasts determines the maximum size of the implant that can be accommodated without looking unnatural. An implant too wide for your chest can result in an overly augmented look or complications like rippling.
  • Chest Wall: The shape of your chest wall, whether it is flat, convex, or concave, affects how the breasts will project after enlargement.
  • Skin Elasticity: The quality of your skin, including its elasticity and the amount of natural breast tissue present, impacts how well your skin will adapt to and support the implants.

2. Desired Outcome

Discuss openly with Anthony what you hope to achieve. Considerations include:

  • Size Preferences: While you might have a specific cup size in mind, it’s essential to focus on the overall look rather than just size. Implants that are too large for your frame might cause health issues like back pain and skin stretching.
  • Symmetry and Shape: If your breasts are naturally asymmetrical, you might need differently sized implants or additional procedures like a breast lift to achieve symmetry.
  • Profile and Projection: Implants come in various profiles, which affect how far your breasts will project forward. Choosing the right profile can make a significant difference in the outcome.

3. Lifestyle Considerations

Your lifestyle should influence your implant choice, especially if you are active or engage in physical activities. Consider:

  • Physical Activities: High-impact activities may be uncomfortable or restricted with larger implants. Moreover, the weight of large implants can interfere with exercise and may lead to physical discomfort over time.
  • Professional Life: Depending on your profession, the size and shape of your implants might have social or physical implications.

4. Long-Term Thinking

Breast implants are not lifetime devices. They may require replacement or removal after a number of years. Consider:

  • Ageing: How will the implants look as you age? Larger implants may sag sooner than smaller ones due to gravitational pull.
  • Future Procedures: Be prepared for potential revision surgeries, either for cosmetic reasons as you age or for implant-related issues such as leaks or ruptures.

5. Health and Safety

While breast augmentation is generally safe, it’s important to be aware of potential risks and complications. These include:

  • Capsular Contracture: The formation of tight scar tissue around the implant, which can cause the breast to feel hard and look unnatural.
  • Implant Rupture or Leak: Although rare, an implant can rupture due to impact or even spontaneously. The response to this depends on whether you have saline or silicone implants.
  • Infection and Recovery: As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection. Moreover, recovery varies by individual and must be planned for.

6. Psychological Impact

Consider how changing your body image will affect you mentally and emotionally. Many patients experience a significant boost in self-esteem and body image, but it’s important to have realistic expectations and choose implants that you believe will make you feel like your best self.

7. Surgeon’s Expertise and Input

An experienced plastic surgeon can provide valuable guidance based on your body type, aesthetic goals, and health. Anthony can advise on:

  • Implant Type and Size: Based on his experience, Anthony can suggest what type and size of implants will meet your goals while maintaining a natural look.
  • Surgical Approach: The placement of the implant (above or below the muscle) and the location of the incisions can affect the outcome and are tailored to each patient’s anatomy and goals.
Breast Enlargement Augmentation - before and after

The Consultation Process

The process of breast enlargement begins with a complex consultation process. This crucial step is not only about ensuring medical eligibility but also about aligning your aesthetic goals with the possibilities of surgical outcomes. Here, the partnership between you and your surgeon becomes essential in making informed decisions:

Initial Consultation

Your first meeting with Anthony is an opportunity to discuss your desires, concerns, and expectations. It’s important to be open and honest about your medical history, lifestyle, and any previous surgeries or medical conditions that might affect the surgery or recovery.

  • Medical Assessment: Anthony will conduct a thorough medical evaluation, including a physical examination of your breast tissue, skin quality, and chest structure. This step is crucial to identify any potential issues that could impact the surgery or dictate specific precautions.
  • Discussion of Goals: You will discuss your desired outcomes and what you hope to achieve with breast augmentation. Anthony will provide professional insights into how these goals can be realistically accomplished, considering your body’s anatomy and your personal health.
  • Visual Assessment Tools: Advanced imaging technologies may be used to give you a virtual preview of what different sizes and shapes of implants will look like on your body. This can help in visualising the potential outcomes and aid in making a more informed decision.

Detailed Explanation of Options

Anthony will explain the different types of implants (silicone, saline), shapes (round, teardrop), and profiles (low, medium, high) available. He will also discuss the surgical techniques he employs, including the placement of the implant (submuscular, subglandular) and the location of incisions.

  • Risk Disclosure: A key part of the consultation involves discussing the potential risks and complications associated with breast enlargement.
  • Post-operative Care and Recovery: Information about the recovery process, what to expect in the days and weeks following surgery, and how to best prepare for a smooth recovery will be covered.

Tools and Resources to Choose the Best Breast Implant Size

Making an informed decision about breast implants involves utilising various tools and resources that can provide deeper insights and clarity about the outcomes you can expect.

Visualisation Tools

  • 3D Imaging Technology: Some practices, including Anthony’s, employ 3D imaging technologies that can simulate how different sizes and shapes of implants will look on your specific body frame. This tool can be incredibly beneficial in setting realistic expectations and helping you visualise your post-surgery body.
  • Sizers: During the consultation, you might use sizers, which are bead-filled neoprene sacks, to try on different sizes under your clothing. This can provide a tangible sense of the implant size and how it affects your appearance.

Educational Resources

Anthony will provide access to a variety of educational materials that cover all aspects of breast augmentation. These may include:

  • Brochures and Videos: Detailed brochures, diagrams, and explanatory videos that outline the procedure, the types of implants, the risks involved, and what to expect during recovery.
  • Testimonials and Before-and-After Galleries: Hearing about the experiences of previous patients and seeing real results can make the decision process easier. These resources provide insights into the surgeon’s work and what outcomes might be realistic for you.

FAQs about How to Choose the Best Breast Implant Size

How long does the recovery from breast augmentation take?

  • Recovery times can vary, but most patients are able to return to work and light activities within one week. Keep in mind that full recovery, especially for activities that involve heavy lifting or intense physical exertion, may take up to six weeks. Anthony will provide specific guidelines based on your individual surgery and personal health.

Can breast implants affect breastfeeding?

  • Breast implants may affect breastfeeding, depending on the placement of the implants and the surgical technique used. Implants placed under the muscle and incisions made under the breast fold are less likely to interfere with milk ducts and nerves associated with breastfeeding. Discuss your plans for future breastfeeding with Anthony during the consultation so he can adjust the surgical approach accordingly.

Will I need to replace my breast implants after a certain period?

  • Breast implants are not considered lifetime devices. The average lifespan of an implant is around 10 to 15 years, although they can last longer. Over time, implants can change due to factors like ageing, weight fluctuations, and hormonal changes. Regular check-ups with Anthony can help monitor the condition of your implants.

What are the signs that my breast implants might have ruptured?

  • Signs of a ruptured silicone implant can be subtle and may include changes in breast shape or size, pain, swelling, or firmness. Saline implant ruptures are usually evident as the saline solution will leak and be absorbed by the body, noticeably deflating the implant. An MRI or ultrasound can help detect a rupture. If you suspect a rupture, contact Anthony for an assessment.

How do I choose between saline and silicone implants?

  • The choice between saline and silicone implants depends on your aesthetic goals, body type, and personal preference. Saline implants offer adjustable size during surgery and a natural absorption in case of leakage. Silicone implants provide a more natural feel and are less likely to wrinkle or ripple. Discuss the pros and cons of each type with Anthony, who can recommend the best option based on your specific needs and body structure.

Further Reading about Breast Surgery with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan

Medical References about Breast Implant Size