When it comes to making choices about your breast augmentation surgery, your surgeon will have a number of questions to ask you. One of the most critical questions you’ll be asked is whether you want teardrop breast implants or round breast implants.
Basically, there are two breast implant shapes: teardrop and round. Both have their own benefits, and both have some drawbacks too.
Most of the time, the goal of teardrop breast augmentation is to achieve natural-looking breasts with a classic “teardrop” shape. However, just because you want natural-looking breasts doesn’t mean you automatically want teardrop implants. There are actually many different factors to consider in this regard.
Up ahead, we’ll explain how teardrop breast implants differ from round breast implants and what the pros and cons of each are.
What Is Teardrop Breast Augmentation?
Teardrop breast augmentation is a cosmetic procedure that involves using teardrop shaped breast implants to augment the size of a woman’s breasts. The fact that the implants are teardrop shaped simply means that the lower half of the implant is fuller and rounder than the upper half. If you can imagine what a teardrop looks like, teardrop implants mimic that shape.
A Note on Breast “Poles”
You may hear your plastic surgeon refer to a teardrop shaped breast implant as having a “fuller lower pole”. This term can be confusing at first blush, so let us explain.
Basically, plastic surgeons refer to breasts and breast implants as having an upper pole and a lower pole. The upper pole is the top half of the breast — everything above the nipple. The lower pole is the bottom half of the breast — everything below the nipple.
Women naturally tend to have “lower pole fullness”, which means there’s more breast tissue below the nipple. Basically, a teardrop breast implant mimics this shape, so teardrop implants have “lower pole fullness” too.
If you’re wondering why any woman would ever get breast implants that weren’t teardrop shaped for this reason, keep in mind that — while they certainly offer many benefits — there are some drawbacks to teardrop implants too. Before we get into those, however, let’s give a general overview of both implant shape options.
Breast Implant Shape Options
As stated above, there are two basic breast implant shapes: teardrop and round. Naturally, you will have a long list of other choices to make about your breast implants as well (size, projection, material, etc.), but when it comes to shape, you just have these two options:
Teardrop shaped implants have an asymmetrical shape, which means there is a “right way” and a “wrong way” for them to be inserted into place. Because they must be placed a certain way, this means they cannot rotate while inside your body either.
It can be difficult to stop implants from rotating, however, so manufacturers have designed teardrop implants to have a very slight texture on their surface. This texture helps keep teardrop implants from rotating or otherwise shifting position.
Round implants are — as the name implies — perfectly round. If you were to set a round implant flat on a table, it would look the same all the way around and from every angle. Because round implants are perfectly symmetrical, it doesn’t matter what side goes up or what side goes down when your surgeon places them during surgery.
Furthermore, as you heal and go about your life, round implants can rotate fully without consequence. Your breasts will never look different because it doesn’t matter which end is up.
And finally, because round implants can freely rotate without consequence, no texturization is necessary on their outer surface. In this way, you’ll find that round implants are perfectly smooth and may be slightly safer for this reason.
Benefits of Teardrop Breast Implants
Here are the benefits of the breast augmentation teardrop shaped implants can provide.
They result in a more natural-looking shape.
The natural female breast shape tends to have a fuller lower pole. This is due to gravity, in part, which pulls the breast down and results in a teardrop shape.
For women who want to increase their breast size, then, it only makes sense that inserting an implant with a fuller lower pole will provide that same natural shape.
They are useful for reconstructive surgery.
When a woman must undergo a single or double mastectomy due to breast cancer, the experience can be devastating for her identity. Although breasts do not make a woman, they are still a fundamental part of how many women perceive themselves. Without breasts, some women simply don’t feel right.
Reconstructive surgery can turn things around for these women. The reconstructive process essentially involves recreating the breasts “from scratch”. In this scenario, Dr. Sieber would, therefore, want the most natural-looking implants available. And for many women, this means teardrop shaped implants.
Of course, breast cancer survivors who get breast reconstructive surgery are not obligated to get teardrop shaped implants. Still, it is definitely a common choice. For many of these patients, teardrop implants can provide the most natural-looking result.
You’ll get better “side boob”.
“Side boob” is a highly sought-after trend that has been getting a lot of attention in recent years.
What is side boob? Basically, it’s the appearance of the side of the breasts, which may be noticed in somewhat revealing clothing — clothing that tends to only cover the front of the breasts. For example, certain tops and dresses may accentuate “side boob” when they don’t cover as much of the side of the trunk as other tops and dresses.
Teardrop shaped breast implants tend to provide better side boob because the lower portions of the breasts are accentuated more than the tops, and this is what is revealed in the profile view.
They should not move during the healing process.
Teardrop shaped implants will not typically move during the healing process, which is a critical time during your recovery from breast augmentation. They won’t move because they have a textured surface, which helps adhere to the breast tissue.
They often work well for petite women.
Teardrop implants can be great for shorter women, especially when there is little breast tissue to work with. That’s because round implants can be difficult to fully cover with only a minimal amount of breast tissue.
More petite women tend to have only a small amount of extra breast tissue on their chests, so this causes what we refer to as constricted lower pole. In other words, the skin becomes too taut over the new implants on the lower pole. Round implants are preferable in this situation.
They can be good for taller women too.
Taller women have longer torsos. To match the anatomy of a woman with a longer torso, teardrop shaped breast implants are often used.
That’s because, unlike round implants, teardrop shaped implants tend to be longer than they are wide (round implants are the same diameter all the way around; they are a perfect circle). In this way, teardrop shaped implants match the anatomy of taller women better.
They can often help women with slightly sagging breasts.
It’s not uncommon for patients to want both bigger breasts and lifted breasts. However, the surgeries necessary for fixing these issues are totally different.
Breast implant surgery (also known as breast augmentation surgery) involves increasing the size of the breasts with implants.
On the other hand, a breast lift aims to simply lift the breasts higher on the chest wall. This surgery is for women who have droopy breasts that tend to hang down lower than they used to. When a woman has breast lift surgery, she has enough tissue (in other words, the size of her breasts is not the issue), but the skin has been over-stretched.
One great thing about teardrop shaped implants is that they can actually help the patient who wants a breast lift and breast augmentation to avoid the need for a breast lift (while still augmenting the breast size). This is because teardrop shaped implants help to actually raise the lower portion of the breast — effectively tightening that area and adding a bit of lift while also increasing the overall size of the breasts.
Drawbacks of Teardrop Breast Implants
Teardrop shaped implants aren’t right for everyone. Here are some drawbacks to be aware of when it comes to this implant type.
They can rotate.
Likely, the biggest drawback of teardrop shaped implants is that they can actually rotate after they are placed. With round breast implants, this isn’t a problem because round implants have the same diameter and projection all the way around; they are symmetrical.
Unfortunately, if a teardrop shaped implant rotates, this can cause a serious anatomical problem for the patient. For example, if a teardrop implant were to rotate about 180 degrees, this would cause the upper portion of the breast to appear much larger than the bottom portion. This would result in a noticeably unnatural appearance.
They can look unnatural when you lie down.
When a woman without breast implants lies down on her back, the breasts simply splay out in a natural way — the same on all sides. Round implants will have this same effect.
However, a teardrop shaped implant has a permanently fuller lower pole. Therefore, if a woman with teardrop shaped implants were to lay down on her back, the breasts would not lay quite the same way, and this would result in an unnatural appearance.
Leaks can be difficult to detect.
Normally, teardrop shaped breast implants are made of silicone. While silicone has many benefits, one drawback is that patients must get regular MRIs or sonograms to ensure that a leak has not occurred. This is because leaks are difficult to detect with silicone implants.
Unfortunately, getting an MRI every several years when you have teardrop implants can be rather burdensome.
They’re not ideal if you already have a good breast shape.
Remember that breast augmentation is a surgery performed to increase the size of the breasts. Sometimes, an implant may actually replace the entire breast (as is the case with reconstructive surgery after breast cancer and mastectomy, for example). However, much of the time, the patient has at least a little bit of breast tissue to start with.
When this is the case and the patient already has a decent breast shape — with more fullness on the lower pole — adding a teardrop shaped breast implant (which also has more fullness on the lower pole) is not going to create a good final shape. Instead, it’s going to add an unnatural amount of fullness to the lower pole and will create an unnatural looking breast altogether.
Increased risk of developing BIA-ALCL
This is one of the most common drawbacks you’ll hear about in relation to teardrop implants.
BIA-ALCL stands for Breast Implant Associated Lymphoma. This is a form of immune system cancer — a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The theory is that because teardrop shaped breast implants are textured, the breast tissue inside the breast actually grows into the texturing and can possible lead to BIA-ALCL.
Let Us Help You Choose the Right Implant for You
In the end, the best way to choose what breast implants are right for you is to choose implants that make you feel beautiful and confident.
Every individual’s anatomy is different. Every woman also feels differently about her breasts and how she wants them to look. Ultimately, Dr. Sieber is going to work one-on-one with you to determine how both of these considerations will factor into the best implants for you.
Of course, we’ll also look at how active you are, whether or not regular MRIs to check for leaks fit your lifestyle, and what size implants you ultimately want. Our goal is to create the perfect breast shape for what you desire.
When you are ready to take the next step on your breast augmentation journey, call Sieber Plastic Surgery to book your consultation with Dr. Sieber. As one of the only double board-certified plastic surgeons in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Sieber is uniquely qualified to help patients like you find ideal solutions for their aesthetic goals.
Call today — we look forward to hearing from you!