In the March issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Drs. Al-Ajam, Marsh, Mohan and Hamilton from the Royal Free Hospital in London published an interesting article comparing the results between two different shaped breast implants in woman undergoing aesthetic breast augmentation. One type was the round implant which is the traditional style that has been used for decades. Recently, an anatomically shaped implant has also been available. Originally developed for use in breast reconstruction patients, it soon began to be used in patients undergoing cosmetic breast augmentation as well. Proponents of the anatomically shaped implant argue that it gives a more natural shape to the augmented breast especially at the upper pole. It does have some disadvantages. It is more expensive and technically a little more difficult to place as it is orientation specific. If the pocket is not precisely planned and created, the implant might rotate slightly and then the shape will be off!
In this article, post-operative photographs from 60 patients, almost evenly split between those who received anatomical and those who received round implants, were reviewed by 22 blinded plastic surgeons. The photographs were rated for aesthetics including natural appearance and the contour of the upper pole of the breast. In addition, the examiners were asked to identify whether the implants were round or anatomical. The conclusions of the study were as follows:
“No significant difference (P > .05) in the general and specific cosmetic points between round and anatomical implants was demonstrated; many on the panel were unable to identify implant shape correctly.”
In my experience, round implants can give a very aesthetically satisfying shape as long as the surgeon chooses the proper size and dimension of the implant and creates a pocket that is large enough that the implant can rest comfortable without a distortion of its manufactured contour. For the patient seeking cosmetic augmentation of the breast, I am not yet convinced if the additional cost or the slight increase in the complexity of implant placement of the anatomic implant is worth it.