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Breast Implant Shape and Textures




Breast implants come in two shapes:


There are distinct benefits and drawbacks to each shape of implant.  Round implants allow the implant to rotate and move within the breast pocket after the surgery.  Anatomical implants require a more precise pocket to be formed so that there is no rotation.   Smooth, round breast implants move more naturally than textured anatomic implants.


                                                   Round breast implant vs. Anatomical Shape breast implant

                                       Round Implant versus a Anatomical Shape Implant



Round Implants are the most commonly used shape for breast augmentation or breast reconstruction.  Round implants are available in both saline and silicone fillers.  Round implants were the very first implants ever used for breast augmentation and during the last 40 years the basic shape and design have not changed. Round implants do not have the same complicated profile for symmetry and position as anatomically shaped breast implants.  Round implants are considerably less expensive than anatomical implants.

Round implants are able to move and shift in position without distorting the shape of the breast.  These implants are for the most part, less expensive than anatomical shape/contour shape implants.  Round implants are available in both smooth and textured surface and also in the styles of high profile, moderate profile, moderate plus and low profile Round implants are shaped like sphere.


                                              Round Shaped Breast Implant

                                                       Round Shaped Implant 


Benefits of Round Breast Implants

Although it has been stated that some people believe that round implants can give more of the fake look versus the anatomical shape implants there are others who believe they can also give a natural look. It has been stated that the anatomical implants do have more of a natural shape compared to round implants, however; once the round implant has been surgically placed inside the patient’s body in the pocket where it will sit, by gravity alone, the round implant has the capacity of taking on a natural look. This is because when a round implant is held vertically by the edges into the position that it will take once inside the body, it naturally takes on the look of a natural breast. There have been studies along with x-rays to prove this point.

For those patients wanting a rounder fuller look, with more upper pole fullness, round implants are a perfect choice. Round implant can shift somewhat in side the pockets after surgery yet still maintain the desired breast shape.


Advantages of Round Shape Breast Implants:

  • Round Implants have the ability of looking as natural as anatomical shape

  • Come in both smooth shell and textured shell surfaces

  • No flipping or rotation in the pocket with visible implant distortion

  • Less expensive than anatomical shape implants





Anatomical implants are also known by the name of ‘contour implants’.  These were originally developed specifically for breast reconstruction patients. This shape of implant has a more “natural” look” compared side by side to a round shape, as it tends to have more fullness near the bottom of the implant, with not as much upper pole fullness. Anatomical implants come with a gentle slope at the top and more fullness at the bottom.  Because anatomical implants are tear-drop shape, they tend to have an axis. This means the height and the width of the implant is different than round implants.


                                                 Anatomical / Contour Shaped Breast Implant

                                              Anatomical / Contour Shaped Implant


It is critical that these implants must be positioned very precisely and securely; any misplacement or shifting of the implant could lead the breast to appear misshapen. Patients who desire this “sloping” effect of anatomical implants should choose a surgeon who has a solid track record with this type of implant.

Anatomical implants only come in textured surface. This is because sometimes teardrop shape implants can shift or move.  If an anatomical implant does this, because of the shape it is made in, it will cause distortion of the implant in regards to the shape of the breast and will cause asymmetry between the two breasts.  It is very important that these implants are placed correctly in the body to avoid any flipping or shifting of the implant. The textured surface implant will adhere to the capsule that is surrounding the implant, in hope of preventing any flipping.

There may also prove to be a higher rate of fold failure in anatomical breast implants or teardrop breast implants that may lead to deflation.

Because these implants are made in the textured surface, they tend to be a little bit firmer in touch than smooth shell implants. Both Mentor and Allergan make their newer cohesive implants “Gummy Bears” only in this shape at the present time. Silimed offers a "gummy bear" in a round shape implant, and the costs are considerably more than regular round silicone or saline.




Benefits of Anatomical Implants:

  • More natural appearing breast shape

  • Originally developed for breast reconstruction patients


Disadvantages of Anatomical Implants:

  • Due to shape, implant might rotate in the pocket

  • More expensive than round implants

  • Only come in textured surface

  •  Firmer to the touch vs. smooth shell implants

  • Higher rate of “fold failure” which can lead to deflation

  • Implant malposition

  • Visible rippling from the textured surface

 Read more about the Gummy Bear Anatomical Implants






All the implant manufacturers have a wide range of sizes and two types of textures to achieve a variety of desired goals. The options for these implants include both smooth and textured shell implants. 


                                       Textured round breast implant vs. Smooth Round breast implant


Textured Implants were designed specifically to reduce the chance of capsular contracture. Their mode of action is one that the implant is given a chance to attach itself to the muscle/tissue wall.  The textured shell is much thicker than the traditional smooth shell implant, to compensate for its rough surface. Because of the process that a textured implant must go through to get its rough surface, it has been debated that these implants tend to be more at risks for leaks and or ruptures.  There are varying studies with whether or not textured implants actually do help reduce the risk of capsular contracture

Textured implants are much firmer to the touch than a smooth shell, and they are known for causing traction ripplingTraction rippling happens when the implant actually pulls on the tissue it is attached to causing an indentation.

In the United States, all anatomical shape implants come with a textured surface so that it will prevent the implant from rotation inside the pocket.  With a round implant, if it should rotate, there would be no visible distortion because of the fact that it is round in shape.  But with anatomical shape implants, they can flip in the pockets causing great distortion. The textured shell is supposed to aid with tissue adherence making rotation not occur; however even with a textured surface, anatomical implants can still have the ability to flip.  The only way of fixing an implant that has flipped would be by surgical intervention. 

Implant massage following Breast Augmentation surgery has been encouraged as a way to prevent Capsular Contracture. It is more commonly practiced with smooth implants because textured implants adhere to the surrounding tissue and are supposed to decrease capsular contracture by this mechanism. While massaging textured implants is not necessarily bad, it is counterproductive to the theory of the implant adherence. If carried to the extreme, one could encourage non-adherence and possibly a seroma (fluid around the implant).




Having any kind or revision breast augmentation surgery with removing a textured shell implant can be a little harder than removing smooth shell implants.  Most patients should not lose much tissue from having the textured implants however, sometimes tiny pieces might be extracted with the implant upon removal. Normally losing any tissue happens when you need to have a capsulectomy. If the surgeon is careful he will only remove the scar tissue - and even then, if your surgeon is careful, will only remove the scar tissue. 




Smooth Shell Implants are much thinner than textured, and in fact thought of being much stronger. Simply because of the fact that the smooth shell implants do not have the imperfections that textured implants have. You can however get rippling with smooth shell implants.

All implants have pros and cons attached to them, and in actuality there is no real difference with what implant is superior to another. You will notice as you go about your consultations, that each plastic surgeon will recommend a certain type, shape and size for you.  Each doctor will have their own opinion with what implant will be best for you with your anatomy.







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