Breast Implant Sizing: What’s Best for You?

Breast implants aren’t what they used to be, which is why choosing breast implants has become more complex for breast augmentation patients in San Jose and beyond. Today, there’s an entire menu of fillings, shapes, and sizes—and a lot of confusion arises when it comes to finding The Ones.

How Big Can I Go? How Big Should My Breast Implants Be?

These are easily among the most-asked questions we hear from patients considering breast augmentation surgery.

For a lot of reasons, the better question would be: What’s the best size and shape for me? Do you see the difference? We’ll try to explain why this is so important and provide you with some guidelines for making this personal choice.

Proportion and Body Type

If you’re considering this life decision (having elective cosmetic surgery), you should try to evaluate and really look at your own body. You’d be surprised at how many people have no idea about their body frame.

  • Do you have a small, medium, or large body frame?
  • What are your personal proportions? Chest to hip ratio? Waist size? Shoulder width? Height and weight?

In general, a more petite person will see an obvious difference in her breasts choosing a relatively small implant.

The same basic rule would apply to a taller, broad-shouldered person. In a taller person, a larger implant doesn’t automatically mean the result will shout “giant breasts”—it’s just that the larger implant might be required to produce a modest result because of the larger body frame.

You should also consider your current breast size, shape, and position. Are your breasts set wide apart? Close together? Are they symmetrical? We guide you through these issues in this related blog post. All of these factors, including the thickness of your skin and amount of breast tissue you have, will affect the appearance of your augmented breasts and should factor into your decision making.

Don’t let cup size be your guide.

So often, a patient will say they want to increase from an A to a C cup, or something similar. If you own more than one bra, you probably know that bra sizes are not precise nor universal. Every brand seems to have some variation, and the sizes can seem different even within the same brand, depending on lining, underwiring, and padding. It’s the ultimate appearance you want to achieve that will be your better guide. And that’s something you will work toward with your plastic surgeon.

Don’t choose your size based on others’ appearance.

Along the same lines, try not to guess your best size choice by comparing yourself to other people. The modest result your best friend sees from her 350 cc silicone gel implants may make you look way out of proportion or may be much smaller than you’d like.

Can you see the common thread here? Breast implant sizing is a very individual process, and you’ll need to do some work in figuring it all out.

Fitting Your Lifestyle

  • How will your new size and shape work with your activities? The way you like to dress? Your personality?

Realize that there will be some differences in shape, the weight of your breasts, and appearance. Are you OK with those changes and what they might mean?

Types of Implants

Changing technologies have produced different types and styles of breast implants. If you’re confused about breast implant terminology, you’re not alone. (We explain the various breast implants terms in this related blog post.)

Today’s breast implants can be saline (saltwater solution) or silicone gel. Saline implants are filled during surgery. Silicone gel implants come in a variety of consistencies and cohesion levels. They maintain their shape within the implant shell.

  • Profile: low, moderate, high. The profile determines the projection you’d like to see. What kind of fullness can you achieve with the increased volume? Again, it’s a very individual process. One patient may want “upper pole fullness” while another may want more projection all over. In terms of volume, implants are measured in CCs (cubic centimeters), starting in the 100s, and generally going up to 800 (custom sizes are available).

breast implant profiles

  • Shape: round or anatomical (teardrop). Most of today’s cosmetic implants are round-shaped. The anatomical, or teardrop-shaped implant, is used mostly in reconstructive breast surgery to replace structure that has been lost due to mastectomy.

How Do I Choose Breast Implants?

You can choose in a variety of ways. There are scientific charts and measurements. Many are provided by implant manufacturers, such as Allergan and Mentor. There are also virtual programs commonly used to help you get a visualization of what your results could be. Many people advocate at-home experimenting with rice sizers; you can follow the tips in this Verywell Health article to learn how to make a rice sizer.

What we’ve found over many years is that patients are likely to make their choices once they’ve literally “tried on” the different implants. In our office, “try on” day is an exciting and fun process for patients. They’re able to sample the various styles in different kinds of bras. Patients say it gives them a true idea of their potential appearance in clothing and offers an understanding of the look and feel of the new dimensions. To get to the best option for you, you must:

  • Take some time to do your homework (our Breast Augmentation Q&A can help).
  • Have honest discussions with your plastic surgeon

We can certainly advise you on your options for implant size and shape based on your anatomy and your goals. We may also make some recommendations on other procedures that can enhance your implant choice, such as a breast lift. But you make the ultimate choice. We wish you the best and hope you enjoy the journey!

[Dr. Vincent Lepore, Dr. Benjamin Maser, and Dr. Steven Bates are  board-certified plastic surgeons in San Jose, CA, with extensive experience in breast augmentation and breast reconstruction. You can see our patients’ breast augmentation results in our before-and-after photo gallery.  Please contact us to schedule a free cosmetic consultation. Call us to schedule at (408) 356-4241. We’re happy to answer your questions.]

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