As medical research and technology advances, more and more options become available each year for breast implants. My Vancouver-area patients often say they feel overwhelmed by all the choices and that they don’t know where to start. A good plastic surgeon with a trained aesthetic eye and plenty of experience with a variety of implants can guide patients in their decisions. Here are some of the techniques surgeons employ to help patients narrow down their implant options:
- Measurements: Patients often have a hard time picturing what a 300 cc implant, for instance, really looks like. A good rule of thumb is that 15 cc (cubic centimeters) equals about a tablespoon, and there is little visible difference between implants within 30 cc of each other. It’s important for patients to get a solid understanding of these measurements because breast implants are not measured in bra cup size, as some people think. If a patient wants to have D-cup breasts after her procedure, a good surgeon can help her determine the implant size that will achieve that. Measurements of your breasts and your body will determine the implant dimensions that will achieve optimal shape and fewer complications.
- Proportions: Surgeons also take a careful look at the proportions of a patient’s body when choosing an appropriate implant. The width of the chest, as well as a patient’s height, can be factors that make a big difference if a patient wants a natural look. These proportions will not just affect a surgeon’s recommendation about implant size, but also about shape and projection (called “profile”).
- 3-D planning: Perhaps the best tool surgeons now use regularly is 3-D image planning. Many doctors use systems such as VECTRA® to manipulate 3-D images to show a patient her unique anatomy and how she might look with different implant options. If a patient wants to compare probable results from round vs. teardrop-shaped implants, that’s possible with this technology. It’s a wonderful way to simulate outcomes for patients and to make sure patient and surgeon are on the same page about the wide range of available options.