Breast Implant Options

The decision to enhance your breasts through cosmetic surgery is just the first step in a highly personal process that involves several choices. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Josh Olson can listen to your goals and preferences during a consultation and can help you understand the options you have for breast implants at his practice in Scottsdale and Gilbert, AZ.

Allow Dr. Olson to assist you in choosing the size, shape, and material of your breast implants. Women from Chandler, Mesa, and Tempe, AZ and throughout the East Valley may request a consultation online with Dr. Olson, or call our cosmetic surgery office in Scottsdale at (480) 423-1973 or in Gilbert at (480) 466-7355.

Your Choices

Many of Dr. Olson's patients interested in breast augmentation have carefully considered the size of breast implants they want before meeting with him. That is an important decision, but it is only one of several choices patients need to make. Other factors include filler material, shape, and texture. Implants also come in different profiles, which is essentially a measure of how far they project from the body.

Dr. Olson can talk you through each one of these issues, also important considerations for breast reconstruction patients. Each choice should be influenced by physical characteristics, including your body's frame, your skin elasticity, and the amount of breast tissue you have. Review the sections below for more information about each of your options.

Implant Size

Because each patient's physical characteristics are unique, the results of your breast augmentation may look different than that of another patient with the same sized implants. The ideal breast implant size for you depends on a number of factors, including your cosmetic goals, the width of your chest and shoulders, and your lifestyle. If you're a runner, for example, you'll want to consider how larger breasts may affect that activity.

It's also important to remember that breast implants are measured in cubic centimeters (cc), not bra size. That's because bra sizes aren't standardized from one brand to another. Dr. Olson can use his trained aesthetic eye to help you choose what size will best meet your cosmetic goals, but the ultimate decision is yours. He encourages patients to review his photo gallery to get an idea of the results they can expect from different sizes of implants.

Implant Filler

Although there are 2 main materials for breast implants — saline and silicone gel — there is really a third choice. That is the highly cohesive silicone gel implants often referred to as "gummy bear" implants because their soft but stable consistency resembles that of the gummy bear candies. Dr. Olson offers all 3 varieties:

  • Saline: These implants contain a sterile saltwater solution that is biocompatible and biodegradable. Saline implants are a suitable option for women with enough existing breast tissue to camouflage the edges of the implants. Saline implants generally require smaller incisions because they are filled after being inserted, unlike silicone implants. That also allows Dr. Olson to fine-tune the amount of the saline solution in each implant during surgery, letting him address issues such as breast asymmetry.
  • Silicone gel: Patients overall tend to think silicone gel implants look and feel more natural than saline implants. There are numerous size and shape options available in silicone implants, which are the most popular implants in the U.S. Silicone implants require a slightly larger incision than needed for saline implants, but Dr. Olson is able make the incisions very inconspicuous.
  • Highly cohesive silicone gel: Gummy bear, or form-stable implants, are a subcategory of silicone implants. They are firm but pliable, and they hold their shape even when cut. These implants often require a slightly larger incision to fit the implant but can create a pleasant natural shape to the breast.

Implant Shape

Breast implants can be either round or anatomically shaped, resembling a teardrop. Both saline and silicone implants come in either shape.

Round: Round implants are usually preferable for those who want more "upper pole fullness." This means there is more volume at the top of the breast, leading to more cleavage.

Shaped: Anatomical implants have a sloping, teardrop shape with more volume at the bottom. Many patients believe shaped implants better mimic the appearance of a natural breast for subtler enhancement.

Implant Shell Texture

The exterior shell of breast implants is either smooth or textured.

  • Smooth: Breast implants with smooth shells move easily and naturally within the breast. Smooth, round implants that rotate inside the breast don't pose an aesthetic problem. A shaped implant that shifts, however, may appear unnatural and need to be corrected with implant revision surgery.
  • Textured: Textured implants attach to the natural breast tissue and remain in place within the breast. That's why most anatomically shaped implants come with a textured exterior. There is also research that suggests textured implants reduce the hardening of scar tissue that occasionally follows breast augmentation, known as capsular contracture.

Implant Profile

Breast implants come in various profiles, which refers to the implant's height versus the width of its base. There are a few variations, but most implants are available in profiles including low, moderate, moderate plus, and high. Chest width is a big determining factor for finding the right profile for a certain patient. Dr. Olson will examine your chest and help you choose the profile that best suits your frame and your cosmetic goals.

Please visit our Breast Augmentation FAQ page for answers to other common questions about breast enhancement surgery.

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