Do you dream of having larger breasts but worry about having implants in case the results look unnatural? Breast augmentation techniques and the breast implants themselves have come a long way in the last decade.
These days, a very natural looking breast enlargement is easily achievable in the hands of a skilled and sensitive surgeon. There are a number of factors that contribute to how natural (or unnatural) breast implants look, which we have outlined below to help you understand how to achieve the appearance that’s right for you…
1) Implant size
The size and profile of implant you choose is one of the most important factors in achieving a natural looking result. It’s tempting to ‘go large’, after all you’re making a significant investment and you want to be able to see the difference. However, the ideal size for you will be dictated by your body.
The surgeon will measure your chest to see how wide it is, look at the shape of your breastbone and evaluate the amount and quality of soft tissue you have. If you have a narrow chest and the implants are too large, the breasts will appear too close together. Likewise, if your breastbone is bowed, the breasts will sit too far apart, and if you simply don’t have enough tissue on your chest, large implants will stretch the skin and appear to be ‘bursting out’.
Once your surgeon has studied your anatomy, he or she will advise you of the ideal size range and provide you with gel implants to try on in a special bra. This process of physically trying the implants on will give you a good idea of what they will both look and feel like.
By listening to your surgeon’s advice, you can be sure of selecting an implant size that will suit your physique and not look out of place.
2) Implant shape
Breast implants come in two main shapes – round and teardrop. In order to achieve a truly natural appearance it is necessary to use teardrop shaped implants.
The natural shape of a breast is fuller at the bottom than at the top, hence round implants, which have the same fullness all the way round, can look artificial.
Teardrop implants have a smooth, tapered upper pole transition for a natural breast contour and contain a gel which mimics natural breast tissue so they feel lifelike too.
These implants require greater surgical skill to implant, since they can result in misshapen breasts if they rotate (unlike round implants) and consequently they are slightly more expensive, but for women who desire a natural look the teardrop shape is the best choice.
3) Incision/scar location
There are three breast augmentation incision sites to select from:
· Trans-axillary – the incision is made in the armpit
· Peri-areolar – an incision is made around the nipple
· Infra-mammary – made under your breast at the crease where the breast meets the body
If visible scarring is a concern for you, opting for periareolar (nipple) incision can result in near invisible scarring. This is because of the difference in skin colour and texture on the nipple areola. However, there are other factors to consider when deciding upon incision location.
Although peri-areolar incision is typically the most concealed, it is associated with a higher likelihood of breast feeding difficulties than the other incision options because it involves cutting through the breast tissue. It can also increase the chance that there will be a loss of nipple sensation. (It is also reliant upon having large enough areolas).
While you might not like the idea of scars beneath your breasts, infra-mammary incision can produce very pleasing results. This is because, in most cases, the fullness in the base of the breast will completely conceal the scar when you are sitting or standing.
Trans-axillary (armpit) incision will result in scarring either side of your body that will be visible when you wear something sleeveless and lift your arms, however it can be a better choice than an infra-mammary (under breast) incision in patients with small and perky breasts, where a scar beneath the breasts would be visible.
Your surgeon can advise on the best choice of incision site for you.
4) Placement on chestImplants can be placed on the chest in two main ways: beneath the breast tissue but on top of the muscle or beneath the tissue and muscle.
For most women, unless they have lots of breast tissue, placing implants beneath the muscle (subpectoral) is the only way to achieve a really natural look. If they are placed on top (subglandular), the implants will be more visible and you might even be able to feel their outline when you touch them.
Placing implants subpectorially (under the muscle) creates more cushion between the implant and the skin, so you’re less likely to feel the edges or see rippling.
The only drawback with this method is the potential for distortion of the breast with muscle flexion (a particular concern for athletic patients). However, it can be minimised by release of the pectoralis muscle in the lower pole of the breast, something that a skilled surgeon will be able to perform.
To achieve the most natural looking breast augmentation possible you can also add fat grafting to your procedure. Fat grafting (of fat transfer) involves taking fat from one part of the body and transplanting it to the breasts in order to sculpt their appearance.
Fat can be harvested via a very minor procedure of micro lipo extraction and it can be taken from your tummy or thighs, providing added benefit!
Using your own fat in combination with an implant provides an optimum result because the fat looks and feels just like real breast tissue. It can be used to smooth the transition from implant to chest, providing padding on top of the implant and disguising the edges. Skilfully executed, it will be near impossible for anyone to tell that your breasts are not completely your own.