Patients seeking breast augmentation or breast enlargement surgery often inquire about my thoughts regarding anatomic breast implants. As most know, these are implants that come in many shapes and dimensions that try to emulate the natural tear-drop shape seen in most body sculptures. I have long felt that these implants provided no benefit for most patients undergoing breast enhancement since studies have shown that round implants also assume a tear-drop shape when a patient assumes an upright position.
I recently attended the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) Annual Meeting in San Francisco where the subject was discussed by an expert panel. Of interest was that approximately 300 Board Certified Members of the ASAPS were seated with me in the audience. We were shown slides of twenty patients both before and after their breast augmentation procedures (none were reconstructive surgeries). Half had received anatomic implants, the other half round implants. We used electronic devices to "vote" which implant type we thought was used. The fascinating outcome was that our accuracy was only 52% in guessing which patient received round and which patient received anatomic implants! The audience poll also indicated that 85% of the practicing plastic surgeons attending used only round implants!
This experience confirmed my sense that the tear-drop shaped implants are unpopular amongst plastic surgeons and for good reason. We confirmed that experts in the field could not tell the difference beyond a random 50/50 guess. I feel further that the "popularity" and awareness of tear-drop shaped implants for augmentation or breast enhancement is truly marketing driven and not based on objective data. Add to this the need for a long and potentially visible 2" incision beneath the breast, the risk of rotation of the implant and the risk of receiving an implant with less than ideal proportions and I retain my strong recommendation for the use of round saline or silicone breast implants for the vast majority of my patients.