In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had some patients engage me in conversations about breast implant profiles. They had seen pictures on the Internet of patients with breast augmentation results they liked and wanted the same style implants as in the pictures. These patients had a limited understanding as to what breast implant profile refers, prompting this blog entry.
The naming for implant profiles predominantly refers to smooth, round implants, which are the most common type of implants used for cosmetic breast augmentation. The two major breast implant manufactures have different names for their implants. Allergan refers to its saline implants as low, moderate, and high profile and its silicone implants as moderate, midrange and high profile. Mentor has similar names, but also has a moderate profile plus implant, which is between its moderate and high profile implants.
The profile of an implant equates to the projection of that implant. For a given volume, the higher the profile, the fatter and narrower an implant is. As a result, higher profile implants tend to provide more fullness and a rounder appearance to the upper portions of the breast. Higher profile implants tend to be really useful in women with relatively narrow breasts who want significant enlargement of the breasts; in these women, if a low or moderate profile implant were selected, to achieve the desired volume may entail the implant riding into the underarm region. In contrast, a patient with a wider build or wider breasts may find that high profile implants may fail to adequately fill their entire breast; they often times benefit from implants with lesser projection. Higher profile implants also tend to be useful in women who desire a small breast lift without the incisions associated with a formal lift.
Almost no patients choose low profile implants for aesthetic breast augmentation; the limited amount of projection provided with these implants does not coincide with their aesthetic goals. Generally speaking, women looking to maximize their cleavage and perkiness often times opt for high profile implants. Ultimately, though, the best implant profile for a patient can only be determined after a careful examination by a board certified plastic surgeon, taking into account the specifics of a patient’s breast anatomy, as well as their desired appearance.