Choosing the Right Breast Implant Profile: A Comprehensive Guide
Originally published July 31, 2018. Republished July 11, 2023 with new information on profile types.
Advancements in breast implant technology has allowed current breast augmentation procedures to be safer and provide better results from augmentation procedures of yesteryear. The consequence of these advancements: patients (and their surgeons) must choose from a vast array of options to find the best implant to use for the procedure. Patients must decide on implant size, implant substance (i.e. silicone vs. saline), and implant shape. Surgeons have additional considerations including implant placement and where to place the incisions. All of these decisions have an impact on the final result of the procedure as well as the recovery process.
One of the most overlooked variables of implant options is the profile of the implant. If you’re currently considering breast augmentation, here’s everything to know about breast implant profiles:
What is a breast implant profile?
A breast implant profile refers to the projection or how far the implant protrudes from the chest wall when it is placed during breast augmentation surgery. It is an essential variable that determines the overall result of breast augmentation, in terms of both size enhancement and how natural the implant looks and feels. The overall size/volume of the implant is determined by the base width of the implant, and its projection or “profile”.
What is breast implant projection?
Breast implant projection refers to how far the implant projects forward from the chest wall. It is a measure of how much the implant sticks out from the body. The projection and “profile” describe the same measurement.
What are the basic types of breast implant profiles?
Breast implant profiles are available in different options, including low profile, moderate profile, high profile, and sometimes even ultra-high profile. The profile chosen depends on the desired outcome and the patient’s body characteristics. Profile (projection) and base width (diameter) are independent measurements of the implant. The base width (diameter) of an implant is chosen based on the patient’s chest width measurements as assessed by the physician. Wider implants tend to offer more lateral, medial and superior fullness, while profile describes only the projection of the implant. Here is a brief overview of the different breast implant profiles:
- Low Profile. Flatter implants provide a more subtle projection from the chest. Low profile implants tend to create a natural look with less fullness in the upper portion of the breasts. This profile is ideal for individuals with a broader chest or those seeking a more modest increase in breast size. Patients with a broad chest generally require a wider base-width implant, thus necessitating a larger implant. Selecting a low-profile implant can help to minimize the overall volume of the implant while maintaining the needed width.
- Moderate Profile. They offer a balanced projection and are often chosen to achieve a natural-looking result as they often strike a balance between a natural look and added fullness. This profile is popular among women who desire a noticeable but not overly dramatic change in their breast projection.
- Moderate Plus Profile. Hybrid between a moderate and high profile option that offer slightly more projection. This profile is particularly suitable for patients who have an average-sized ribcage and wider breasts but desire additional projection.
- High Profile. This style generally offers greater projection from the chest. High profile implants provide more fullness in the upper portion of the breasts compared to flatter implants of the same base width. This results in a rounder and more prominent appearance. This profile is favored by individuals seeking a significant increase in breast volume and enhanced cleavage. These are frequently chosen for narrow chested patients who still want a generous sized implant, but wider implants will not fit on their chest.
- Ultra High Profile. Even greater projection compared to high profile implants. They are chosen for patients who desire significant fullness and a more dramatic, augmented look. With a narrow base and maximum projection, these implants provide a striking, “push-up” effect, resulting in a prominent and curvaceous silhouette.
Breast implant profiles are available in different options, including low profile, moderate profile, high profile, and sometimes even ultra-high profile. The profile chosen depends on the desired outcome and the patient’s body characteristics.
However, it’s worth noting that breast implant profiles and terminology may vary between different implant manufacturers and surgeons. For example, the Moderate Plus Profile is not a universal option from all surgeons, but is offered by certain manufacturers such as Mentor. Mentor’s other implant profiles are:
- Moderate Classic
- Moderate Plus
- Moderate Plus Profile XTRA (think over-filled moderate plus)
- Moderate High XTRA (slightly more projection than Mod Plus XTRA)
- High Profile
- High profile XTRA (think over-filled High Profile)
- Ultra High Profile
The XTRA style implant from Mentor use the same silicone gel fill material as the other styles, but have been “over-filled” to provide added projection and upper-pole fullness compared to the non-XTRA styles. This increased fill ratio results in a firmer feel to the implant as well.
Different manufacturers also have multiple options for the physical characteristics of the filler material. The silicone gel used to fill the implants can range from very soft, to quite firm as the material becomes “more cohesive”. The more cohesive gel implants tend to provide greater fullness and projection, but the trade-off is that the breast tends to feel firmer.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Breast Implant Profile:
Several factors should influence your decision when selecting a breast implant profile:
- Body frame and proportions: Consider your natural body frame and shape. A larger implant profile may look disproportionate on a petite frame, while a lower profile may not provide the desired fullness on a broader chest.
- Desired breast size and shape: Clearly communicate your goals to your plastic surgeon. Whether you desire a subtle enhancement or a more pronounced bust, your surgeon can guide you towards the appropriate implant profile.
- Personal lifestyle and activities: Consider your lifestyle and the activities you engage in regularly. If you are involved in sports or lead an active lifestyle, a lower-profile implant might be more suitable to ensure comfort and ease of movement.
- Surgeon’s recommendation and expertise: Trust the expertise of your plastic surgeon. They will evaluate your unique anatomy, listen to your goals, and recommend the best implant profile to achieve the desired outcome.
How to choose the right breast implant profile
Choosing the right breast implant profile is an important decision that should be made in consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can assess the patient’s needs and provide professional guidance. They will have a comprehensive understanding of the different implant profiles available and can recommend the most suitable option based on their expertise and the patient’s specific circumstances. Some factors the surgeon will consider when determining the appropriate implant profile:
- Body proportions. This includes chest width, breast width, and the amount of natural breast tissue, which play a significant role in determining the right implant profile. The surgeon will recommend an implant profile to achieve a balanced overall appearance.
- Base diameter. The base diameter of an implant affects its width and coverage on the chest wall. A narrower base diameter (with high projection) can provide more projection and fullness, while a wider base diameter (with lower projection) may result in a broader, more natural look.
- Tissue characteristics. The quality and quantity of existing breast tissue are important considerations. If there is minimal natural breast tissue, a higher profile implant may be recommended to achieve the desired fullness. Conversely, more natural breast tissue may mean a lower profile implant is more appropriate to maintain a natural appearance.
- Implant shape and size. Depending on the patient’s unique anatomy, even moderate profile implants, whether they are of a large or smaller size, may be sufficient to achieve the desired outcome.
- Desired outcome. Consider the aesthetic goals for the breast augmentation and clearly communicate the desired outcome to the surgeon who will help guide the selection process.
During the consultation, the surgeon will perform a physical examination, discuss goals, and consider the factors mentioned above to help patients choose the right breast implant profile. They may also use 3D imaging technology, have the patient try on sample implants, or show before-and-after photos to represent how different profiles may appear.
Patients should also consider their lifestyle when deciding on the implant. It’s important to consider the clothes they like to wear, as well as their normal activity level, so augmentation does not interfere with these normal parts of everyday life.
Low to moderate profile vs. higher profile
Low to moderate profiles tend to create a more natural-looking result. They provide a balanced projection that mimics the shape of natural breasts, making them suitable for patients seeking subtle enhancement.
High profile implants can provide a rounder and more lifted appearance to the breasts, creating a desirable cleavage and increased fullness in the upper pole region. This can be particularly appealing to patients who desire a more dramatic and noticeable outcome.
A patient’s anatomy and aesthetic goals are unique, so it’s crucial to have a thorough discussion with a qualified surgeon to determine the most appropriate breast implant profile that aligns with individual body characteristics and the desired result.
Benefits of low profile and moderate profile implants
Moderate-sized breast implants are highly popular due to their ability to strike a comfortable middle ground and provide a natural appearance. Other benefits include:
- Subtle enhancement
- Enhanced cleavage
- Comfortable, athletic silhouette
- Less thinning of soft tissue envelope of the breast
- More natural, less “augmented” appearance
Benefits of high profile implants
High-profile implants are an excellent choice for patients who desire a more pronounced transformation, additional fullness, and a voluptuous figure. High-profile implants might be the right fit for patients who:
- Want more shape and volume
- Have stretchy skin and breast tissue
- Have minimal existing breast tissue
- Want upper-pole fullness
- Are getting implants for reconstruction after a mastectomy
- Have a petite frame (narrow base width)