Can High/ultra High Profile Implants Be Damaging to a Woman with Little Breast Tissue?

I read an article that suggested that high and ultra high profile implants over 350cc could potentially lead to increased soft tissue damage and chest wall deformities. I am an A cup with a small amount of breast tissue, a 28" chest, and about 12.5 BWD. I know that this issue hasn't been studied extensively, but I wonder if it is something I should consider when talking to my surgeon about profile.

Doctor Answers 12

High-profile implants are sometimes useful

The article you mentioned caused quite a bit of debate. If you have had a chance to see the original article, look at the published discussions that follow it, as they point out that the problems attributed to high profile implants occur with other types too, and there was no evidence presented that the high profile types cause them more frequently. So they do have a role, and you should discuss which type is most appropriate for you with your plastic surgeon. The process should be first choose the size you want, then the implant profile that best matches the base diameter of your breasts is selected. This may be high, moderate, or low profile, though the terms are used differently by different implant manufacturers.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

The Pros and Cons of using Large Breast Implants in Petite Women

Good question. This issue HAS been studied extensively but the findings are not always shared with patients for fear of offending and losing them. I THINK we can agree that there are physical limitations on what size / volume breast implants can be used in certain women. An A cup - never-been-pregnant woman will not have enough breast skin to allow placement of certain large implants. In addition, just placing the biggest possible breast implant in every women will NOT result in attractive long-term results but predictably in rapidly sagging breast with visible and palpable folds. The BEST Breast Augmentation results are produced when the surgeon convinces his patient to allow placement of the BEST compromise breast implant that woman's breast tissues would allow. That means, that the implant has to be covered by the existing breast tissue. The implant then AUGMENTS that breast tissue by pushing it forward. When an overly large implant isshow horned into the breast pocket (either under the muscle or under the breast) it stretches the skin put places pressure on the breast tissue causing it to waste away. As a result, such implants cause breast atrophy which reveals more of the implant and its folds resulting in saggy breasts AND visible rippling. In summary - it does not take a huge amount of skill to shove a large breast implant into a woman's breast. BUT the best results require an artistic judgement of picking the best implant for each woman for long lasting and natural results. Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

High profile breast implants

As Dr. Baxter said, the article you are referring to out of Texas caused quite a reaction because it almost implied that HP implants are certain to cause problems and are some kind of malpractice.  They are not.  They actually are quite useful in the right situation.  Certainly, if you can get the result you want with lower profiles and smaller implants there are fewer consequences to the tissues such as thinning and stretching.  But if the lower profiles won't give you the result you want, then you need to go higher.  

You want to spend a very substantial amount of time with your plastic surgeon, not their nurse or a cosmetic consultant, and see lots of photos of people (who are tall like you) and try on several profiles in garments to decide what is best for you.  I have had may people with your starting point (expressed in other posts from you) and we have been able to come up with the right implants for them.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Is #UltraHighBreastImplant for me?

There is not a clear consensus at this point regarding ultrahigh implants. Your most important focus is not which implant but rather who is the best plastic surgeon to guide you to the best implant for you. It is very difficult to determine the exact size and shape implant you will require to best match your ideal breast image without an examination by a board certified plastic surgeon. Not just any board certified plastic surgeon, but one with many years of frequently performing breast augmentation surgery including different approaches, techniques and implant choices. This is because several measurements not to mention your breast characteristics are needed to determine the optimal implant size to obtain your goals. Without knowing these dimensions it would be difficult to make this determination. For example, the existing base width of your breast will determine, in many cases, the maximal volume per implant profile that you can accommodate. To illustrate; a 100 cc difference may make a significant difference with a narrow base width breast, but much less of a difference if you have a wide chest wall and wide breast “foot print”. Therefore, just because your friend may have a great result with let’s say a 350 cc implant to make her go from a “A” cup to a “C” cup size does not mean that you will have the same result with the same size implant. . Further simply placing implants in a bra to determine the size best for you is not always accurate as the bra often distorts the size, is dependent on the pressure the bra places plus the implant is outside your breast and not under it among other variables. Computer software morphing programs that automatically determine the best implant size can be helpful in some but not all cases (e.g. doesn’t work well in my experience with existing implants, sagging or asymmetric breasts). Using “want to be” photos however are useful if simply provided to the surgeon as I will further explain in the below link.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Are UItra High Profile implants damaging to breast tissue?

I would agree with Dr. Baxter.  There is very little evidence to suggest that high profile implants have any potential for damaging breast tissue and, in reality, if you have very little shape to your breasts they actually might be beneficial.

Since you are currently in Seattle, my recommendation would be to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon such as Dr. Baxter and discuss with him your concerns.

I hope that helps!

Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Ultra high profile implant.

The truth is any profile implant and not necessarily a high profile implant can cause tissue damage and alterations in the chest wall over time.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

High profile implant risks

THis is not only true for high profile implants. In general, there is a battle between non-biological implants that do not change and the surrounding biological environment (muscle, skin, fat, bone). As the non-biological material produces pressure on the biological tissue, then tissue will atrophy and change shape (re-mold).  In general, the higher the pressure, the more the tissues will atrophy, stretch or re-mold.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Large Breast Implants

Breast implants should be chosen based on the patient's anatomy and tissue quality.  If a larger than appropriate implant is placed, there is good chance that the tissue will be thinned and the results will not look natural.  Additionally, the long years of a larger than appropriate implant may cause additional stretching of the skin due to gravity. 

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Implant choices

You have an excellent question that is always best to have answered in person.  I usually use high profile or moderate plus implants in women that have narrow chest walls that want larger implants.  The larger the implant, the more potential for problems.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Implant problems

Clearly stated - larger implants have more long term complications.

That said, you need to respect the dimensions of your body to get the best results.  There is a proportionality that needs to be recognized - and respected. 

David A. Lickstein, MD
Palm Beach Gardens Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.