Choosing the Right Size Breast Implants

Choosing the appropriate breast implant type, shape, and size is the essential first step when considering breast augmentation surgery. “Today, there are various types of breast implants on the market. Implants come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures,” says Dr. Usha Rajagopal, a board certified plastic surgeon in San Francisco. As a female plastic surgeon, Dr. Rajagopal sees a lot of patients who are interested in breast augmentation and breast lift surgery. “Many patients feel more comfortable seeing a female plastic surgeon for breast augmentation surgeries,” explains Dr. Rajagopal.

Dr. Rajagopal suggests that women who are considering breast augmentation surgery research the following topics regarding breast implants on their own in addition to asking in depth questions during their consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Types of implants: Saline and silicone breast implants are the most common types of implants used for breast augmentation. Saline implants are filled with a saline solution, which is simply sterile water. These implants cost a little less than silicone implants. Silicone implants have a cohesive silicone gel inside. Their texture is more firm than saline implants.

Insertion Methods: Implants can be inserted three ways: Through the armpit, via an incision made underneath the breast, and through an incision made around the areola (the dark skin around the nipple). Silicone implants come pre-filled, so only saline implants can be inserted from a tiny incision in the armpit or from around the areola. For saline implants, the saline solution is pumped into the implant shell after it has been placed in the desired spot inside the breast. Dr. Rajagopal prefers to insert implants, including saline breast implants, from an incision underneath the breast fold. This insertion method allows the surgeon to have more control over placement of the implant.

Placement: Breast implants can be placed either underneath the chest muscle (pectoral muscle) or on top of it. Dr. Rajagopal prefers to place the implant underneath the muscle and does so for most of her patients. Placing the implants underneath the muscle produces a more natural look. This type of placement is believed to reduce the chances of developing capsular contracture (hardening of the breast due to scar tissue).

Textures and Shapes: Breast implants can have a textured surface or a smooth surface and come in either round or tear dropped shapes. Typically, tear dropped shape implants are textured to help them remain in place. If round implants happen to rotate later on inside the breast, the round shape of the implant does not distort the appearance of the breast. Manufacturers of textured implants also claim that a textured surface reduces the chances of developing hardening of the breast (capsular contracture), although there is no medical proof to back-up that claim. Dr. Rajagopal prefers to use smooth round implants for her breast augmentation patients.


Natrelle Pre-Consultation Kits – Try different breast implant sizes before you see the plastic surgeon: Allergan, the manufacturer of silicone and saline breast implants, offers a pre-consultation kit for breast augmentation. The Natrelle Pre-Consultation Kit comes with different sized inserts and a profile bra for women to try on to see what breast size best suits their body. Women can experiment with different breast sizes under various outfits privately at home. The kit also comes with an educational DVD and booklet.

Natrelle Kits can be purchased from your plastic surgeon’s office or online at for $39.99. Allergan is also the manufactured of BOTOX® Cosmetic, Juvederm, and Latisse.