Breast implant size: How Do I Figure Out the Right One?
Determining the “right” breast implant size can be a major challenge. Let me explain the most frequent methods and their pitfalls:
1. Going by bra cup size: “I’m an A cup, and I want to be a full C cup.”
The problem: There is no standardization of cup size among bra manufacturers. A Playtex C is frequently a Victoria’s Secret D. A woman who fits a 34 D cup may also fit a 36 C. So cup size is imprecise—at best—and sometimes closer to just a guess.
2. Relying on a surgeon’s determination of the “correct” size based solely on breast measurements.
It has become popular among breast implant surgeons to measure the width of the base of the breast, find an implant with the same diameter (based on a chart provided the implant manufacturers), and then tell the patient that this is the magical “right size.” Although this seems reasonable anatomically, it seems to me that your wishes regarding size are much more important than the surgeon’s. While a surgeon can and should provide guidance regarding implant size, the ultimate choice should be yours. If your “right” size is different from his, your surgeon should be flexible (rather than mindlessly following his breast diameter chart).
3. Stuffing your bra with different sizes of implants until you find the right one.
This is great for marketing purposes. You get to “try on” different implants until you find the right size. The problem is that the actual implants go under the breast tissues, not over them. Superimposing the implants on top of your breasts creates a snowman effect (one sphere stacked on top of the other), which exaggerates the projection of the breasts relative to what will actually happen in the operating room. Women commonly choose implants that are smaller than they actually wanted.
What do I do in my breast augmentation practice?
I think in terms of implant volumes: 330 cc, 360 cc, 390 cc, etc. You think in terms of cup sizes. Neither of these allows us to communicate effectively. So I use the one thing we can both see: photos.
You can choose among the before and after photos of breast augmentations on our website, among the hundreds of photos in our office photo albums, or among any photos from any magazine or internet site. (There’s obviously no shortage of available breast implant photos.) Although you might not know the cup size of the women you choose or the number of cc’s, it really doesn’t matter. You simply look through breast photos and categorize them as “too big,” “too small,” or “about right.” I will analyze the photos with you. As long as your choices look reasonable for your frame, the choice of size is yours. I believe that there is a right range of sizes rather than a specific right size. Photos of desired breast size don’t work perfectly, but they seem to work better than anything else I’ve tried.
Click here to watch a video about breast augmentation and a patient’s experience with the procedure.
For more information about breast implants, please visit http://www.plasticsurgerydallas.com/procedures-breast-augmentation.php
Ronald M. Friedman, M.D.
Director, West Plano Plastic Surgery Center
Former Chief of Plastic Surgery, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas