Breast Implants Don't Have to Be Noticeable

With a skilled surgeon at the helm, reasonable expectations, and a firm understanding of the various options available for breast augmentation surgery, a woman can expect to obtain breasts that will fool even the most trained eye.

When it comes to breast augmentation procedures, the desired effect is to enhance the bust while maintaining a natural appearance. Most women want the benefit of larger, fuller breasts without anyone realizing that they have had breast enhancement surgery. So, prior to undergoing a breast augmentation surgery, many women ask the question: Will people be able to tell that I’ve had breast implants?

In recent years, there have been many improvements in the science behind the construction of the implants. New cohesive gel implants have been proven to hold their shape better over the long term while feeling more natural to the touch. Forming those implants — which are also known as gummy bear implants — into a teardrop shape makes them fit better and adds to their natural look. While the type of implant makes a big impact on how a breast augmentation looks post-surgery, the biggest factor in achieving natural-looking breasts is the size of the implant and the skill of the breast surgeon performing the procedure.

According to Men’s Health, the biggest tipoffs that men look for to determine if a woman has had breast augmentation surgery are based on sight alone. Indicators include the breasts being too close together, appearing abnormally large, or sitting too high on a woman’s torso. All of those factors come back to the issue that the implants may have been too large for the woman’s frame and, due to that fact, many women are now opting for the “less is more” approach to breast augmentation by choosing a size that’s more proportionate to the rest of the body.

The best way to ensure natural-looking results is to choose an implant size that’s based on both a woman’s body and the amount of breast tissue that can hold the implant safely in place without strain. Having implants that are too large for the breast pockets can cause them to shift over time, so keeping the breast implant size in direct proportion to a woman’s body can help minimize that artificially enhanced look.

One of the important signs a plastic surgeon looks for to determine the presence of an implant is something called “upper pole fullness.” The profile of a natural breast slides down in a straight line from the collarbone to the nipple. However, in the presence of an implant, that line changes to an outward curve. Although that curving isn’t the most natural of looks, it’s becoming the norm for many, as our society has seemed to accept the practice of breast implantation.

Of course, there are other less obvious signs that a person has a breast implant, including the incision points, which can be placed under the areola and nipple, under the breast, in the axilla, and around the belly button.

With a skilled surgeon at the helm, reasonable expectations, and a firm understanding of the various options available for breast augmentation surgery, a woman can expect to obtain breasts that will fool even the most trained eye.

Robert T. Grant, MD, MSc, FACS, is Chief of the combined Divisions of Plastic Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is also Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. For more information about Dr. Grant or to contact him, visit his website at www.robertgrantmd.com.