Patients generally present for breast augmentation with set goals regarding the desired aesthetic outcome. Some women specifically ask for large implants and are seeking an “augmented” look post-operatively. Others may ask for smaller breast implants, often wishing to restore volume loss that resulted following pregnancies, breastfeeding, or weight loss.   Although there is no exact guideline regarding what size classifies as a smaller breast implant, this generally refers to 350cc or less. It is important to understand that size considerations are influenced by overall body proportions.  For example, a 300cc implant in a tall patient with broad chest wall dimensions may appear conservative, whereas the same volume in a petite patient may appear quite pronounced. Smaller breast implants have become more popular recently due to pop culture and research in the field. So, what are advantages of smaller breast implants?

Lower risk of breast ptosis long-term

Larger breast implants carry greater long-term risk of breast ptosis – referring to sagginess – relating to the effects of gravity. While it is important to wear a bra routinely following breast augmentation, there is lower risk of ptosis with smaller breast implants.

Lower risk of wound healing complications

Larger implants are often more difficult to place within the implant pocket. The greater volume places more tension on the wound closure and may increase risk of healing complications, including dehiscence (wound separation) and potentially even implant exposure. Smaller implants pose lower risk of wound healing complications given that less tension is placed on the incisions.

Less skin and breast tissue atrophy with smaller breast implants

Over time, native breast tissue and skin may thin following breast augmentation. These changes occur more often in patients with large breast implants, given that more tension is placed on the tissues.

Lower risk of implant palpability and visibility

As skin and breast tissue thin over time, smaller implants pose lower risk of long-term aesthetic complications. Larger breast implants may appear more visible with skin and breast tissue atrophy over time.

More natural results with smaller breast implants

Smaller breast implants in general may lead to a more natural result post-operatively. Results depend on the proportion of natural breast tissue to implant. A larger ratio may lead to more natural results. Smaller implants often appear more natural on palpation as well than large ones, which may appear quite firm.

While smaller breast implants may pose lower risk of short- and long-term complications, the right size is different for each patient based on aesthetic goals and clinical presentation. Some patients may be more willing than others to take on these risks given desired aesthetic outcome. Whether a patient is interested in more natural vs. augmented results will be discussed in detail during consultation. A patient’s height and body proportions are important when giving recommendations regarding implant size. Larger implants in petite patients likely will not achieve natural results.

Please contact us if considering breast augmentation in the Toronto area. Female plastic surgeon Dr. Power will discuss your goals in detail and will then make personalized recommendations. A range of sizers are available in office to try on and assist you in making an informed choice pre-operatively.

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