Except for the women who want over-the-top, fake-looking breasts, most breast augmentation patients prefer something more natural and fitting to their bodies. With a trend towards more natural-looking breasts, there are ways to get them—and knowing what to ask for is half the battle.
Glen Carbon, IL plastic surgeon Ryan Diederich, MD says there are several reasons for the shift towards more natural-looking breast implants. “Advancements in breast implant technology give patients more options for implant fill, sizes, and style, which allows us to tailor the surgery.” Beauty standards have also evolved from large, obvious-looking breast implants to natural, understated ones. Pittsburgh, PA plastic surgeon Jeffrey Antimarino, MD says he prefers the current natural trend, which gives a more realistic, elegant look.
If you’re in the market for breast implants and want them to look as natural and soft as possible, consider this your ultimate pre-surgery checklist to discuss with your plastic surgeon.
Go Small, But Not Too Small
The key to a natural-looking result is to pick implants that fit your frame. That doesn’t necessarily mean going itty bitty, but rather with a complimentary size. Louisville. KY plastic surgeon Bradley Calobrace, MD tends to trend his patients towards smaller implants for natural-looking results.
Staying within a two-cup size increase is ideal for maintaining a realistic look. “A full B to a full C cup would provide a natural look. However, it depends on the patient’s frame and the amount of natural breast tissue,” Dr. Calobrace shares.
The problem with selecting too large of an implant—even if you want to make the most of the surgery—is that the breasts can look inadvertently fake. “During a consultation, I have my patients try on various sizes using a sports or soft cup bra,” explains Dr. Antimarino. “They are often surprised at the result when viewing their “enhanced” profile in the mirror and may decide on a different size than what they wanted.”
Many plastic surgeons use the dual-plane technique, which places the implants under the muscle in the upper portion of the breast and above it in the lower part to create a natural slope and avoid an overly round appearance. The placement technique also provides more tissue coverage so that the edges of the implants are less visible and emulates how natural breast tissue sits on the chest wall.
Placing the implants strictly under the muscle is also popular. Dr. Calobrace explains that the muscle squeezes down and compresses the upper pole, turning the roundness of the implant into a more sloping look for a more anatomical, teardrop shape.
Projection (how far out the breast protrudes from the chest wall) affects the appearance and proportionality of the breasts. Implants that stick out too far from the chest wall look contrived. “The lower the profile, the flatter the implant and the more natural it looks. The more projection there is, the rounder the breasts look,” Dr. Calobrace adds.
A natural-looking breast augmentation balances projection and width, Dr. Antimarino explains. “Most women want projection more than width since wide implants make a woman look top heavy.” Implant styles have changed over the last decade and now encompass less width and better projection.
Dr. Deiderich says that for implants to look natural in the breasts, the breasts should have a gradual slope and a subtle curve from the chest to the nipple. “Therefore, choosing the appropriate projection level is a delicate balance between achieving the desired breast shape and size while maintaining a natural look.
Breast augmentation isn’t achievable without a scar, a necessary plastic surgery trade-off. “Surgeons typically choose an incision location that minimizes visible scarring and allows for the most natural-looking outcome, like the inframammary fold incision in the crease under the breast,” Dr. Diederich says.
Don’t Discount Fat Grafting
Fat grafting, which involves removing fat from one part of the body, purifying it, and injecting it into the upper portion of the breasts, improves fullness and skin quality. “It can also help with cleavage,” adds Dr. Antimarino. Adding fat in the upper breast allows for less concavity, more volume and for the implants to sit on the chest naturally. Plus, adding fat to the breasts after augmentation can further refine any imperfections should they exist. However, there is a downside to fat grafting. Dr. Antimarino says it may need to be performed more than once to achieve the best results as all the fat grafted may not take.