Understanding Upper and Lower Pole Fullness!

We all know that there are two poles to the earth – the Arctic in the North, and the Antarctic in the South.

But, did you know that there are two poles to your breasts too?


It totally helps to understand the anatomy of the breast when you're planning an augmentation surgery. After all, implants are not just about increasing the size of your bust! It's about the shape of your breasts too.

A natural breast shape is like a teardrop (or a ski slope from the side!), with most of the fullness in the lower part of the breast.

BTW fullness is a word you will hear mentioned a lot. Specifically, upper or lower pole fullness.

But what exactly are these poles?!

Breast globes

Stick with me girl, but think of your breasts as a globe. You breasts have a North 'upper' pole and a South 'lower' pole, and the your nipple is the equator (the line dividing the North from the South)!


When we talk about upper pole we mean how full the breast is above the nipple.

When we talk about lower pole we mean how full the breast is below the nipple.

Simple, right?

If you can get your head around what upper and lower pole means it'll help you when you're figuring out your augmentation goals.

Upper pole goals

Whatever implants and implant placement you opt for you may have some pretty impressive (but artificial - as in, it won't last) upper pole fullness right after surgery. This is especially so with implants placed under the muscle as they tighten after surgery and shift your implants higher up on your chest. It's often a bit funny looking (not the immediately perfect breasts you were hoping for) which is why early breast shape after implant surgery gets called Frankenboob.


When post-op swelling goes down and your tissues/muscles relax with the magical drop and fluff process what upper pole you're left with will depend on a few things.

Although opinions vary a bunch on how to get upper pole a few implant specifics are the key:

  • Size - larger and bigger implants (cc's) generally give more upper pole fullness

  • Width - the wider the implant (cm's) the more likely it is to reach and fully fill the upper pole

  • Profile - higher profile and ultra/extra high profile implants give the best chance of upper pole fullness

  • Cohesive silicone - the material of a cohesive silicone implant is made specifically so it keeps its shape (so what's up top will stay up top)

If you're aiming for an augmented look (round, high and full up top) be sure to communicate this to your surgeon. There's no guarantee though that you'll get epic upper pole. You will in some part be limited by your existing anatomy- so keep your expectations in check.

And... the filling in all implants gradually descends (except cohesive ones). It’s just gravity girl!

Which leads us on nicely to...

Lower pole goals

Pretty much the spot light when we talk about augmented breasts goes to upper pole fullness. It kinda figures though, because the top part of breasts is the bit so many of us feel confidence in showing off after surgery!

But, one of the most striking parts of a breast augmentation can be the bit only a few people ever see... lower pole fullness. This is especially true if you're starting with deflated breasts after breastfeeding or weight loss. But...

Lower pole isn't instant after surgery.

So, don't be surprised if you don't see it straight away!


In the first few weeks and months after surgery when your implants haven't fully dropped and fluffed you can expect your lower pole to not be that full... figures really, because the implants haven’t settled in to their pockets yet. And breast implants placed behind the muscle always take more time to develop lower pole fullness.


Getting your poles right

When you hear 'upper/lower pole fullness' you have to realize that it means different things to different people. That's why it's really important to pick a Boobie Guide to show your surgeon the 'look' your after, and how you visualize upper and lower pole fullness.

Whatever look you’ve opted for don’t assess your outcome until at least 3-6 months after surgery (anatomical and textured implants tend to take even longer). By this point you should be about 90% there with the settling and softening (of the tissues around the implant) and you’ll know what your new breast shape is.

Go into this journey accepting that bras will still play a very important role in your life. If you want that upper pole fullness to stay put... a push-up bra is the key to that ‘breasts super close and high up’ look!

The best way to get what you want out of your boobie journey is to pick an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, to express your goals clearly, and to keep your expectations in check.

Thoughts from Dr. Glenn Davis

The best part of breast augmentation, from my perspective, is how different women see themselves exactly how they expected to after augmentation. Some see their results as perfect when they sit high, barely move, and look clearly augmented. Some see their results as perfect when they are soft, move freely, and look exactly like a natural breast.

Jenny Eden does a great job of reminding us that there is no such thing as the ideal breast. Beauty is in the beholder.