If you are considering cosmetic surgery for breast augmentation, you may want a curvier shape, but be concerned that your breasts should still look natural and realistic.
This can be a particular concern if you hope to restore the fullness of your own curves after your breasts have lost volume as a result of pregnancy, weight loss or natural ageing.
So how can you ensure that your breast enhancement procedure leaves you looking naturally beautiful?
Mr Venkat V Ramakrishnan, a Consultant Plastic Surgeon who works at Nuffield Health Brentwood Hospital, says, "There are two important factors when it comes to making breast implants look natural. The first is the amount of natural breast tissue and the second is the size of the implant.
"If the natural base of the breast is small, and the implants are very much larger, then they will tend to look fake. For example, if a woman wants to go from a B cup to a D cup, she will probably look fantastic and natural, as opposed to one who wants to go from an A cup to F cup who will see a more dramatic result."
Another factor in how natural your result will look is where the implant is placed.
If you are very slim, with little padding on the chest, the outline of the top of your implant may be visible through the skin, especially if you are wearing low necklines or swimwear. To prevent this, a surgeon will normally slip the upper edge of the implant under your chest muscle to give a smoother silhouette.
However, the muscle will then hold the new breast firmly in place. This gives an uplifted look, but it also means the implant will move whenever the chest muscle contracts. The new cleavage is also likely to be slightly wider than before.
If you have more fat under the skin on your chest, the implant can be placed entirely in front of your chest muscle. This more ‘wobbly’ breast will sit and move in a more natural way, but if you lose weight the implant may become visible.
Fortunately, says Mr Ramakrishnan, there may be a solution to both these problems. "The latest technique in breast implant surgery is that instead of placing the upper edge of the implant behind muscle, the surgeon will slip it under the thin, cloth-like tissue that covers the chest muscle. This procedure is known as subfascial augmentation. The result is that the edge of the implant is smoothed out, but the breast retains its natural movement."
Alternatively, it is possible for a surgeon to remove a small amount of fat from the thighs by liposuction and inject it over the implant for a more natural look. This technique, however, will add more expense to the procedure.
You might assume that 'teardrop' shaped implants (also called anatomical implants) would give a more natural appearance, but says Mr Ramakrishnan, the opposite is true. "To keep their shape, anatomical implants are slightly firmer than round silicone implants, so they don’t feel or move quite like a natural breast," he explains. "For example, when you lie down, a shaped implant sticks straight up instead of moving to the side. Also, when conventional round implants are in place, gravity will inevitably pull them into a teardrop shape anyway, creating the realistic, naturally attractive look many women want."
Last updated Friday 8 September 2017
First published on Monday 24 August 2015