Introduced recently, teardrop-shaped implants have become
increasingly popular for breast augmentation surgery. A widespread idea
is that the anatomically shaped implants give more natural results than
the round implants.
Looking at before-and-after photos, plastic surgeons and nurses can't
tell whether breast augmentation surgery was done using conventional
round implants or newer anatomically shaped implants, reports a study in
the January issue of Plastic and Reconstructive SurgeryŽ
, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
‘Looking at before-and-after photos, plastic surgeons and nurses can't tell whether breast augmentation surgery was done using conventional round implants or newer anatomically shaped implants.’
At least in the specific group of patients studied, the results of breast augmentation
using round versus shaped implants are indistinguishable, according to
the new research, led by Dr. Carlos Rubi of The IMED Hospital Department
of Plastic Surgery, Valencia, Spain. The results suggest that routine
use of increasingly popular "teardrop-shaped" implants is not justified.
No Visible Difference in Results between Implant Types in Before-and-After Photos
In the study, 30 plastic surgeons and plastic surgery nurses
reviewed preoperative and postoperative photos of 30 women who had
undergone breast augmentation with round or anatomically shaped
implants - 15 patients in each group. The two groups were otherwise
similar: all procedures were done using silicone implants, placed under
the muscle (subpectoral), with an average implant size of about 300 cc.
For each set of photos, the surgeons and nurses judged whether the
procedure was done using round or shaped implants. The goal was to
determine if the aesthetic results of round versus shaped implants could
be differentiated from each other.
For all observations, there was about a 50-50 chance that the
surgeons and nurses could correctly identify the type of implant used.
There was a lack of agreement not only between different raters, but
also for individual raters comparing the same images several weeks
Plastic surgeons performed slightly better than nurses in
identifying the type of implant - possibly because they could deduce
which type would likely be recommended, based on the "before" photos.
But the new study shows that even plastic surgeons and plastic
surgery nurses cannot tell the difference between the final outcomes of
breast augmentation with round versus shaped implants, in a group of
patients with otherwise similar characteristics. The results add to a
previous study that showed similar outcomes with the two implant types
used for breast reconstruction.
The inability to tell the difference between implant types for
breast augmentation questions the preference for shaped
implants - especially since they cost more and carry a risk of
complications related to implant rotation, compared to round implants.
"The systematic use of anatomically shaped implants is not justified,"
Dr. Rubi comments. "Natural results are achieved with both types of