Bigger Isn’t Always Better…Choosing the Right Breast Implant Size

Posted on April 8, 2016 by: Dr. Ronald DeMars

Breast augmentation is always one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedures year after year. It is also one of the most misunderstood operations regarding how to determine the ultimate outcome. How do you determine the right breast implant size? Read Dr. DeMars’ tips below.

Determining Your Aesthetic Goals

Obviously the final result is to be larger, but for many patients it is more complex because it isn’t all about being big, it’s about looking properly and attractively proportioned.  Even that goal gets more complex as we look into each individual woman’s goal because what may be an attractive goal for one is a nice full B cup and another patient may feel a D or even DD is the best look for her. And let’s face it, even breast size style changes with time. So during a consultation the surgeon spends quite a lot of time with each patient trying to determine how best to meet her goals.

Understanding Breast Implant Sizes

One of the most misunderstood aspects has to do with the size of the breast implants. They don’t come in cup size but rather are measured by volume. And to make it hard on Americans, the volume is a metric measurement called cubic centiliters (cc for short). Breast implants may range in size anywhere from 120ccs all the way up to 900ccs. To help with conversion, 30ccs is about equal in volume to one fluid ounce and 15ccs is about one tablespoon.

Most women don’t understand that bra cup size isn’t an exact measurement, and each manufacturer will have a slight difference from what their cup sizes are compared to every other manufacturer. So when we are doing surgery it is not possible to create a specific cup size and guarantee the patient will wear that bra size. The surgical process is all about creating a proportion on a specific woman’s chest. But we can create a C-cup look for example, or a B or a D.

Taking Your Existing Size and Shape into Consideration

It is fairly common for a new patient to come into the office stating her friend had an augmentation using a certain size implant, let’s say 350cc for discussion, and she looks great so that’s the size the patient wants. But the breast implant volume is not responsible for the final outcome. The ultimate result is a combination of the breast implant volume, the starting volume of the patient’s breast, the shape of the ribs, the thickness of the muscle and the quality of the skin. Add to that the shape of the breast implant because they come in a variety of shapes.

Communicating with Your Surgeon

Each surgeon has developed his or her technique for picking the right implant to help the patient attain her goal look. Some surgeons have the patient try different size implants under their bra in a tight shirt and have the patient choose the specific implant on that basis. Unfortunately, the shape of the implant changes quite a bit once it is under your tissues and molded by them.

Other surgeons have a large camera/computer apparatus that takes a photo of the patient and through computer manipulation shows the patient what certain volumes would might look like in her and have her choose that way.

Finally, some surgeons prefer to have the patient bring photos to the office of the look they want. The best way to do this is through an online search of surgery patients, finding patients with a similar pre-op physique and with post-op results that are attractive to the patient. During surgery the surgeon creates the pocket for the breast implant and into the pocket places a “sizer” which is an empty breast implant with a tube coming from it. Once the sizer is in place behind the patient’s natural tissue, the surgeon can put volume into the sizer adjusting it up or down in size until finding the volume that most closely matches the patient’s desired photo. This may be the most exact fitting of all.

How to Choose the Best Implant Size for You?

As you can see, there are many variables that factor into choosing the best breast implant size. The best thing you can do is meet with your surgeon for a consultation and walk through each of these steps with him or her and have open, honest communication about your goals. From there you can determine the next steps that are unique to you.

If you’re interested in meeting with Dr. DeMars about plastic surgery in Portland, call us at (503) 253-3458 or contact us online to set up a consultation.