Teardrop (Shaped) vs Round Breast Implants: What’s the Difference?
NOTE: All teardrop implants are textured. Since textured breast implants have been associated with a low risk of an uncommon and highly treatable type of lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), most plastic surgeons are not currently offering textured implants. The FDA does NOT currently recommend removal of textured breast implants in asymptomatic women.
Smooth implants (silicone or saline) continue to demonstrate an excellent safety and satisfaction record and continue to be recommended. As such, we recommend patients to use a round implant for any breast augmentation surgery. Please reach out to us with any questions!
Whether a patient is getting a breast augmentation to correct asymmetry, improve their self-confidence, or restore breast volume after weight loss or pregnancy, researching everything there is to know about the procedure and what to expect can feel overwhelming. While choices regarding implant size and implant type (material) tend to get the most attention, another important factor to consider is implant shape: teardrop or round.
In this blog post, we will compare teardrop breast implants (also called anatomical implants or shaped implants) and round breast implants, and explore which option is best for patients, depending on their preferences and goals for breast augmentation.
Teardrop implants, also known as anatomical implants or shaped implants, are shaped like a teardrop or a natural breast. They are designed to mimic the slope of the breast and provide a more natural-looking result. Anatomical implants are also available in both saline and silicone and come in a range of sizes.
One of the main advantages of teardrop implants is that they provide a more natural-looking result than round implants. This is because they are shaped like a natural breast and mimic the contours of the breast. This can be particularly beneficial for women who are looking for a subtle enhancement.
Another advantage of anatomical implants is that they are less likely to ripple or wrinkle than round implants. This is because they are filled with a thicker silicone gel that maintains its shape even when the implant is in an upright position.
Round implants are the most common type of implant used in breast augmentation surgery. As the name suggests, round implants have a circular shape and are symmetrical in all directions. Round implants typically have a more fluid-like consistency comprised of either saline or silicone. They come in varying degrees of projections (forward distance from the chest wall) and diameters.
One of the main advantages of round implants is their full and round appearance to the breast. This can be particularly beneficial for women who want to achieve a more dramatic result. Round implants are also less expensive than teardrop implants, and they are generally easier to insert.
Another advantage of round implants is that they are less likely to rotate or shift after surgery. This is because they are symmetrical in all directions, so it does not matter which way they are positioned in the breast pocket.
Main differences between teardrop and round implants
There are many differences between teardrop and round implants, so it all depends on the patient’s preference and goals for their augmentation.
Breast implants can have different compositions, depending on the patient’s preference. Typically, round breast implants are filled with saline or silicone, both of which flow freely and give natural movement to the breast.
Teardrop implants use a thicker, firmer silicone gel known as a “form-stable” gel. This gel is also known as “highly cohesive silicone gel” or “gummy bear” implants.
Teardrop-shaped implants may be more likely to be made with form-stable gel than round implants, as the highly cohesive gel can help maintain the teardrop shape of the implant, which is designed to mimic the natural shape of the breast. However, round implants can also be made with form-stable gel if desired.
Simply put, round implants are circular. While teardrop implants can vary in their oval shape, they start narrower at the top and get progressively fuller in volume at the bottom — like a teardrop.
However, during movement, teardrop implants do not change shape, while round implants move and adjust naturally with the body. For example, while lying down, round implants settle laterally in a more natural manner while teardrop implants are designed to stay the same shape.
Teardrop implants require a slightly larger incision than traditional silicone- or saline-filled round implants, as the gel is more solid and requires a larger opening to be inserted into the breast pocket. Because of the larger incision, teardrop implants require a longer recovery time than round implants.
Both round breast implants and teardrop implants have the potential to cause scarring, but the location and severity of the scarring may differ depending on the type of implant.
With round implants, the incision is usually made in the inframammary fold (the crease under the breast) or around the areola, which can lead to more visible scarring in those areas.
Teardrop implants, on the other hand, require a longer incision along the lower curve of the breast, which may result in more scarring in that area. However, teardrop implants are designed to mimic the natural shape of the breast, which may result in less visible scarring over time as the implant settles and the breast tissue conforms around it. Ultimately, the extent of scarring will depend on individual factors such as skin type, healing ability, and the skill of the surgeon.
Teardrop implants tend to be more expensive than round implants due to their more complex design and the additional skill required to implant them. Teardrop implants are shaped to mimic the natural slope of the breast, and this requires a more precise placement and orientation than round implants. In addition, teardrop implants are made with a textured surface to prevent rotation, which adds to their cost.
Both round and teardrop breast implants carry risks, but the specific risks associated with each type may differ. One potential risk with round implants is that they may have a higher risk of rippling, which can lead to visible bumps or wrinkles on the surface of the breast. Additionally, if a round implant rotates within the breast pocket, it can cause a distortion of the breast shape.
On the other hand, teardrop implants may carry a higher risk of malposition or rotation, which can cause asymmetry or a distorted breast shape. Teardrop implants may also have a higher risk of implant palpability, which means that the implant can be felt through the skin. Both types of implants may be associated with capsular contracture, which occurs when the tissue around the implant hardens and tightens, potentially causing pain, discomfort, or a distorted breast shape.
Which is best?
We do not recommend teardrop implants as they are textured and are associated with a low risk of an uncommon and highly treatable type of lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
Choosing between round and teardrop implants ultimately comes down to individual goals and preferences. For a more dramatic result, round implants may be the best choice, while teardrop implants are ideal for a more natural-looking result.
Patients who have more petite body types — meaning they have less naturally occurring breast tissue — may benefit from teardrop implants, as they allow for more natural shape without over-enhancing the volume.
Teardrop implants are used most often in breast reconstruction surgery, such as instances where the patient has undergone a mastectomy. However, round implants are most used for cosmetic breast augmentation surgery due to their ability to mimic natural breast tissue.
It is important to discuss expectations with a plastic surgeon to determine which type of implant is the right choice for the patient. It is also important to consider and discuss the preferred appearance, length of recovery time, potential risks associated with each type of implant, and cost of surgery with a board certified plastic surgeon who has experience using both types of implants.
Update (June 20, 2023):
Since textured breast implants have been associated with a low risk of an uncommon and highly treatable type of lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), most plastic surgeons are not currently offering textured implants. The FDA does NOT currently recommend removal of textured breast implants in asymptomatic women.
Smooth implants (silicone or saline) continue to demonstrate an excellent safety and satisfaction record and continue to be recommended.
Please reach out to us with any questions!