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5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Breast Implant, Part 3: Shape:  Round vs. Anatomic/Shaped

 Now that you've made decisions about enhancing your natural breasts with silicone versus saline implants and smooth versus textured breast implants, you'll need to decide if round or teardrop-shaped implants are right for you. It might come as no surprise that, collectively speaking, breast implant manufacturers have designed thousands of different options to suit every individual's needs and goals while accommodating a range of sizes for the diverse female anatomy. Not only does this mean that it's possible to find the perfect pair of implants for you, but it's even more important to have a board-certified plastic surgeon to help guide you on what will work best, given your measurements and goals.

Making careful consideration around breast implant shape is an equally important part of the breast augmentation algorithm. Today I'm reviewing the details on round (circular implants) versus anatomic form-stable breast implant types so you can decide what's best for you.

Breast Implant Shapes

Breast implants come in 2 shapes: round and anatomic or form-stable implants. As their names imply, round implants are round or spherical and respond to gravitational changes such that they appear the same in any orientation. Anatomical breast implants are made of form stable gel that holds their shape regardless of orientation and won’t respond to gravity. These implants are ”tear-dropped or breast-shaped” implants with more volume in the lower pole and less volume up top.

Round Implants

smooth round silicone gel breast implants

We know that breast augmentation surgery requires a saline or silicone gel implant to provide volume and projection to enhance the natural breast tissue. Round-shaped breast implants come in different sizes, ranging from small to very large in implant volume. These types of implants can be filled with either sterile saline just before implanting or come pre-filled with silicone gel. Some round implants have a smooth outer shell while others have a textured surface.

In most breast augmentation cases today, round-shaped breast implants are placed under the pectoralis muscle. This placement allows the implants to move naturally with the movement of the chest wall, and in most cases, provides the prettiest breast aesthetic once implanted.

Review the differences between smooth and textured breast implants

Anatomic "Teardrop" Shaped Breast Implants

anatomic textured silicone gel breast implants

Anatomical implants are similar to round implants except they have a smaller diameter. As such, anatomical implants are often preferred by patients who want a more subtle breast enhancement result from their augmentation procedure.

Because anatomic implants hold their shape against gravity, the implants must maintain an upright position. If a shaped implant were to rotate once placed the breast would appear oblong and misshaped. For this reason, shaped implants only come in a rough, textured surface that adheres to the soft tissue of the breast and prevents the implants from rotating.

A Word of Caution About Teardrop Breast Implants

Textured implants have come under scrutiny recently due to their association with a rare neoplastic condition known as Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This is a rare type of T-cell lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) that has been reported to rarely occur in the capsular tissue surrounding textured implants. The reported incidence is about 1:30,000. Natrelle by Allergan withdrew its portfolio of textured implants off the market in response to an FDA investigation.

breast implant profiles by Dallas plastic surgeon Dr. John Burns in Dallas, Texas

In cases where a tear-drop appearance is preferred, the selection of an appropriately-sized smooth round implant can mimic a teardrop shape as most of the gel will pool in the lower part of the breast leaving a softer upper pole. A low profile to moderate profile smooth, round implant produces an effect that is remarkably close to textured teardrop implants, due to gravity’s effect on the gel.

Because round implants can mimic the effect of textured shaped implants they are widely preferred over their shaped textured counterparts. For this reason, most surgeons recommend round breast implants versus shaped implants.

Review the differences between saline versus silicone breast implants



Breast augmentation specialist, Dr. John Burns, FACS, is one of the leading breast augmentation surgeons in the United States. Having performed well over 5000 primary breast augmentation cases alone, Dr. Burns was selected as one of America's Top Plastic Surgeons by Newsweek and Statista. He offers, both virtual and in-office, complimentary breast augmentation consultations for women seeking breast augmentation in Dallas and throughout the United States, and the world.