What’s the difference between textured and smooth implants?

Implants shells can be smooth or textured. While we highly recommend smooth implants, we’ll go over the differences here.

April 30, 2021

4 min read


You’ve made the decision to get a breast augmentation, but now you’re faced with more choices. Breast implants come in so many different varieties, including size, filler, and shell texture. All breast implants are made with a thick silicone rubber shell, regardless of what they’re filled with. These shells can be either “textured” or “smooth”. These different shell properties can affect your overall health and the potential complications you might face following your surgery. The photo above shows a woman holding a textured breast implant.

Textured implant shells

Advantages of textured implants

Textured implants were originally developed to promote implant fixation to body tissues.1

Think of it like velcro.  Because of the textured surface, these implants move around less.  They do not rotate as much as smooth implants. However, an even bigger advantage was noticed by surgeons that were using the textured implants – there was a decreased rate of capsular contracture.2

Disadvantages of textured implants

One recent finding is that, on rare occasions, women who have textured implants have developed a cancer called “breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma” (BIA-ALCL).3 This is a particular type of lymphoma that affects your immune system T-cells, and is not a cancer of breast tissue. Because the information is so new, the cause is not yet known.  Scientists are still working on finding out more about it. BIA-ALCL has been reported in both saline and silicone gel filled textured implants.

If you develop a collection of fluid in your breast several years after a breast augmentation, go to your plastic surgeon immediately.  They will want to take out some of the fluid as a sample, then send it to a lab to check for the presence of any cancerous cells. This late collection of fluid is also called a “late seroma” and it can happen with textured implants, even if cancer is not present.   

Smooth implant shells

Smooth implants do not go through any texturizing processes, so their silicone shells are smooth and more similar to a filled water balloon.

Advantages of smooth implants

The most obvious benefit to choosing a smooth implant is that there is no evidence of a link with BIA-ALCL. As far as current evidence suggests, BIA-ALCL is exclusively linked to the use of textured implants.

Smooth implants are often less feel-able under your skin.  Imagine that the smooth surface is like silk and that textured surface, being a thicker material, is more like corduroy.  You are going to be able to feel the corduroy more than the silk.

Disadvantages of smooth implants

Some studies have shown that there is a higher rate of capsular contracture with the use of smooth implants, especially when placed directly beneath the mammary glands. To decrease the chance of getting capsular contracture, surgeons will often place implants under the chest muscle.4

A closer look with a microscopic view

For those of you who are curious, here’s a microscopic view of the textured implant shell and the smooth implant shell. As you can see, the textured shell has more ridges. The smooth shell is more uniform.

Textured shell

Smooth shell

Choosing the right implants for you

By far, smooth implants are the most commonly used breast implant in the United States. With what we are learning about BIA-ALCL, textured implants will probably be used less and less in the future.  

The best thing to do is to visit your plastic surgeon for a consultation. Most offices will have both smooth and textured implants for you to see and feel. You’ll also get to go over other aspects of breast implants such as the implant profile and whether to go in front or behind the muscle. The doctor will also be able to give you their expert opinion on what will work best for your needs.

Near the Murrieta and Temecula area?

If you are near Murrieta, Temecula, or the surrounding area, please stop by to feel the differences between the textured and smooth implants. Of course, you’ll want to check out our collection of saline and silicone implants as well. 

  1. Inamed Aesthetics. “Module 1: History and evolution of breast implants.” Inamed Academy (2003): 5.
  2. Calobrace, M. Bradley, W. Grant Stevens, Peter J. Capizzi, Robert Cohen, Tess Godinez, and Maggi Beckstrand. “Risk Factor Analysis for Capsular Contracture: A 10-Year Sientra Study Using Round, Smooth, and Textured Implants for Breast Augmentation.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 141, no. 4S (2018): 20S-28S.
  3. Clemens, Mark W., MAurizio Bruno Nava, Nicola Rocco, and Roberto N. Miranda. “Understanding rare adverse sequelae of breast implants: anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, late seromas, and double capsules.” Gland Surgery 6, no. 2 (2017): 169.
  4. Namnoum, James D., Joan Largent, Hilton M. Kaplan, Michael G. Oefelein, and Mitchell H. Brown. “Primary breast augmentation clinical trial outcomes stratified by surgical incision, anatomical placement and implant device type.” Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery 66, no. 9 (2013): 1165-1172.

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