Implant Profile

Low, Medium, and High Profile

Round implants are made roughly in the shape of a jelly doughnut. They also come in three different variations of the doughnut shape: low, medium, and high profile. For any given volume, a low profile implant will have a greater diameter (footprint) and lower projection than a high profile implant of the same volume. The medium profile implant will be somewhere in-between.

The profile most appropriate to you is objectively determined by the volume you select and the diameter of your breast. As an objective issue, this is best left to your plastic surgeon. For example, if your breast diameter is 13 cm, and you select 400 ml implants, you will be well-suited to a medium profile implant of that volume, as the diameter is about 13 cm, the same as your breast diameter. If you selected 550 ml, then you would be well-suited to a high profile implant, as its diameter is also about 13 cm whereas a medium profile 550 ml implant has a diameter of about 14 and a half cm, which may be a larger diameter than your chest wall can accommodate optimally. If you selected a 250 ml implant, then you might be well-suited to a low-profile implant. Again, because this is an objective issue, it is best left to your plastic surgeon. In general, about 90% of implants selected are medium profile. About 10% are high profile, and less than 2% are low profile. See this printable pdf file for implant specifications that show implant size, diameter, and projection for moderate and high profile implants for one of the major implant manufacturers. (Note that low profile implants are not included in this file, as they are not commonly used.)

Be sure to read our blog, “High Profile Breast Implants” for more information.

Implant Profile Terminology and Confusion

Manufacturer Term for Low Profile Term for Moderate Profile Term for High Profile
Allergan/McGhan* “Low Profile” “Moderate Profile” “High Profile”
Mentor “Moderate Profile” “Moderate Profile Plus” “High Profile”

Note that Mentor uses the term “moderate profile” to describe their lowest profile implant, whereas Allergan / McGhan / Natrelle uses “moderate profile” to describe their medium profile implants. This has created a “moderate” amount of confusion among patients and physicians.

When it comes to profile, it is truly best to let your surgeon decide. First, your surgeon should measure your breast diameter. Next, you should choose the implant volume that you want. Finally, your surgeon should compare the diameter of the desired implant size (standard implant) to the measured diameter of your breast. If the diameter of the implant size you selected is about the same or smaller than your measured breast diameter, then a standard implant is appropriate. If the diameter of the desired breast implant is larger than your breast diameter, then you should consider high profile breast implants.

*Allergan and McGhan refer to the same implant manufacturer. At one time, they were also called Inamed. The company has changed name a few times due to a series of acquisitions. They call their implants Natrelle.