Ready for more decisions? If choosing a surgeon, implant size, incision location, implant placement and between saline and silicone weren't enough, another choice you will have to make is related to the shape of your implant.

An implant's shape is affected by its size and profile, but the primary shape decision is between round or contoured implants.  This article discusses all of these points, with a focus on the latter distinction.

Implant Sizes

An implant's size, or the volume of filler, will contribute to its overall shape. Read more about implant sizes here.

Implant Profiles

Another shape-related consideration is an implant's profile. Related to projection, the profile of an implant can change the fullness of the breast, especially the upper areas. The three implant profiles are designed for different shapes of women:

  • High profile implants have a narrower base, and are ideal for women with narrower hips who do not want to look top heavy.
  • Moderate profile implants are used in the majority of augmentation surgeries. They have a wider diameter and are better suited to women with a larger hip-to-chest ratio, allowing for a more proportionate appearance.
  • Low profile implants are the least-used shape of implant, as they tend to create a look that is more flat and wide than the other profile shapes, which most women seeking augmentation do not want.

Round Implants

Round implants have been the prominent shape since breast implants were first introduced in the 1960's. Round implants have the shape of a flattened sphere, while contoured implants have a more tear-drop shape.

The primary advantage of a round implant is that the implant maintains its shape whether or not it moves within the surgical pocket. Despite its round design, the shape is very natural because gravity pulls the fill material, whether saline or silicone, to the bottom of the implant. This leads to more of a tear-drop appearance after the surgery. Some evidence suggests that round implants may be less likely to rupture because of their smooth surfaces.

Contoured Implants

These implants come in a shape comparable to a tear-drop, to emphasize the natural look of more fullness at the bottom of the breast. The primary disadvantage of contoured implants is that if they move within the surgical pocket, it can cause the breast to  become misshapen.

Although manufacturers have attempted to lessen this phenomenon by adding a texture to contoured implants (to make "slipping" more difficult), a contoured implant still has the risk of rotating, which may require surgical revision.

There are multiple shapes, textures, profiles and sizes from which to choose, all with different advantages and disadvantages. Before you start feeling overwhelmed by all of the options related to an implant's shape, ask your surgeon, whose experience can guide you to choose the best shape for your goals.