Tear drop shaped implants appear more natural
In my experience over 10 years as a coinvestigator for anatomical form stable highly cohesive gel implants or gummy bears, the tear drop shaped implants do appear to be slightly smaller than there round counterparts even though they might be the same size volume. It is because the tear drop shape is more stable, does not collapse and places more of the implant volume over a larger surface area than does the round less stable counterpart.
In our practice, because of the improved appearance of the breast as a final result, shaped gummy bear implants, particularly those from Sientra, have been the most popular implants. Additionally, the Sientra round based shaped implants have a very youthful yet natural shape for those who have had implants previous and desire an exchange or upgrade.
Implants styles sizes and appearances
While your question is important, it is a bit backwards. An implant doesn't by itself produce a certain appearance. It is the combination of the implant and the native breast anatomy that will produce a certain result. Implant style and sizes should be chosen by what is required to produce a certain result. There are many variables to consider and side effects or risks of each style and size also influence what is ultimately used.
Robin T.W. Yuan, M.D.
Similar Result with Shaped Implants
The final appearance of either implant is very similar, but I prefer the round, as when you are lying down at the beach, your breasts should appear to be round and not "anatomical," particularly with 5 th generation gel implants. I use all implant types, and choose according to your present needs in terms of superior fullness.
Great question, there was recent study that showed if you put a round in one and an anatomical in another most surgeons can not tell the difference. I think if you have zero breast tissue than anatomical may be of value to give you shape but if you have some tissue than all the implants do is give you volume and I would suggest round as they have less issues than anatomic.
Anatomic vs round implants
The answer depends upon the profile and the volume of the implant. In general, the lower pole is fuller in the anatomic. In the body, personally, I can not tell the difference many times once the patient has healed and the implants have settled.
Size variation between anatomic and round breast implants
I agree that round implants will give more upper pole fullness and thereforecould look larger.
However with time implants drop and in the end the same size round and anatomic implant will look very similar.
Size differences anatomic vs. round implants
I would actually say that round implants look bigger than anatomic because round give better upper pole cleavage than anatomic - at least theoretically. Interestingly at our recent national plastic surgery meeting, the audience was asked to determine if 20 breast augment patients shown had anatomic or round implants - the audience was right half of the time (it's random!). There is no scientific data addressing your question, but I would say that similar volume implants - round vs. anatomic - will probably look very similar.
Do Anatomical Implants look Bigger?
In general, most anatomic implants have their maximal point of fullness lower down on the implant than a round implant of the same size. This will tend to make the upper part of the breast less full with the anatomic implant than a round. I repeat that this is just a generalization. As others have stated, other factors like your chest and breast dimensions, the implant size chosen to fit your dimensions and the characteristics of your tissue have more to do with how you will look than the shape of the implant.
Cup size may vary between types of implants just like it can with volume of implants or type of bra
You ask a very good question and one that shows that you think about breast surgery in an analytical way. The first thing to note, however, is that there really is no standardization amongst bra types or manufacturers as to cup size. Thus, even without implants, you may find that in some kinds of bras you will be a B cup, while in others you may be an A cup, and still another you may actually fit into a C cup. The idea of cup size is more one of proportion than absolute volume. That is, it is really a measure of the difference between the circumference of your chest just below your breasts and the circumference of the chest at the point of maximal fullness of the breast, say in a young breast, at the point at which the nipple projects out the farthest. The bra manufacturer then takes this difference and creates an average size cup matching those proportions; the problem is that some manufacturers think of that "average" in different ways. With regard to breast implants, each manufacturer has different dimensions for width, vertical height in the case of shaped implants, and projection height for a given volume of implant, and those dimensions will vary between round and shaped implants even within the inventory of the same manufacturer. Thus, it makes sense that, as you suggest, with some anatomically shaped implants, where the maximal projection might be a bit higher than that of a round implant of the same volume, the cup size may be influenced by the type of implant. The problem is that there are also so many other variables that all add up in the end to produce the "actual," or best fit, cup size that you will be after surgery. It is really impossible to predict with certainty how a lady's tissues will drape over a particular implant, or how an implant will "settle" and ultimately project in actuality, and this as much as anything else will contribute to the ultimate size of her bra.
It is for these reasons that we actually do volumetric sizing for breast implants preoperatively using specially designed sizers that we can actually fit into a sizing bra and evaluate for such things as proportion and dimension. That way we don't have to rely on cup size or implant volume as a primary concern, rather we worry only about what looks good on your body, and then whatever cup size that winds up being after surgery - with the understanding that that still may vary between bra manufacturers - is what you will be. It's a very practical way to approach the issue, and I think the only realistic way to have any chance at accurately achieving our patients' goals. Your consideration about the differences between shaped implants and round implants is a good theoretical concern, but I don't find that cup size is the major consideration when deciding between shaped and round implants. Shape is. For those ladies who want less of an upper pole fullness or roundness, perhaps a more "natural" shape to the breasts, especially those who have naturally small volume breasts and thin tissues, a shaped implant will probably work best, and then it's just a matter of picking size as I described above. For those who want a fuller, rounder shape to the upper pole and cleavage, a round implant will work best, and again, once that's established, it's just a matter of selecting the size with sizing. In the end, cup size will be what it will be in both cases, but the reality is that in both cases regardless of the cup size, I will be confident that I will have a happy patient because we have already taken a "sneak peek" with the preoperative sizing, and we have a very good idea of what we will wind up with.
Shaped form stable implants
The shape of the implant, and the position is just as important as the size. Rather than focusing on cup size, you should determine the "look" you want. By viewing many many before and after images, you can communicate to a plastic surgeon what your goals are.