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How Do I Choose a Breast Implant Size?

If you are unhappy with the shape, size, or symmetry of your breasts, a breast augmentation can help you achieve your ideal aesthetic. The best way to determine the right implant size for your procedure is in consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon. However, there are several factors you may wish to consider before requesting a consultation, including your preferred implant shape, type, and size.

The perfect breast implant size is different for every person, and it is helpful to start by considering your goals. Are you hoping to:

  • Increase your cup size subtly?
  • Make a change with a new, fuller figure?
  • Make your breasts more symmetrical or shapely?
  • Return your breasts to their previous fullness or lift?

Depending on your answer, a smaller or larger breast implant may be the right fit for your aesthetic goals. Consider the following variables before choosing breast implants to ensure you are completely satisfied with the results.

How are breast implants sized?

Before you can choose the right breast implant size for your goals, you need to understand how implant sizing works. Bras are measured by cup size, but cup size is not a standard measurement. For example, depending on the manufacturer, you might comfortably wear size B bra cups with one brand and C cups with another.

Breast implant size is more precise. Breast implants are sized by volume, which is measured in cubic centimeters (cc). An implant of 200 ccs adds approximately one bra cup size. In the United States, breast implants range from 120 ccs to 850 ccs, but most people choose implants in the 200- to 300-cc range.

There are two kinds of breast implants: saline implants and silicone implants. Silicone implants are sized during manufacturing, but the size of saline implants can be adjusted during surgery. The more adjustable sizing capabilities of saline implants may be a consideration if your goals are to correct asymmetrical breasts.

Do certain body types limit breast implant options?

Plastic surgery may help individuals feel comfortable in their bodies, but some factors may not be changed. For example, are you naturally petite, or do you have a larger, taller frame? Body type does not necessarily limit your breast implant options, but some implants may be more comfortable or appear more natural depending on your body type.

People with smaller or thinner frames can generally use a smaller implant to achieve a full, natural look. A 200-cc implant will appear larger on a shorter person than on a taller person. Similarly, the same implant will appear larger on a naturally thin person compared to someone with a fuller figure.

It is also important to choose implants that are comfortable. Large implants may be more uncomfortable for some petite people since larger implants weigh more. Heavier implants can strain the upper back and neck of some people, which can cause pain over time.

Two measurements limit breast implant size: chest wall width and breastplate thickness. People with narrow chest walls or very thin breastplates will not be able to accommodate large, heavy implants in the upper-cc range. If you are unsure whether your body type may limit your breast implant options, scheduling a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon can help you understand your options.

What size breast implant will best suit your lifestyle?

Once you have an idea of what size breast implant your body can comfortably accommodate, consider your current lifestyle—breast implants should complement your life, not slow you down.

People who regularly jog or do other high-intensity exercises may be more comfortable with a smaller implant size. Large breast implants can cause discomfort when playing sports or participating in other high-impact activities.

If you are uncomfortable with attention or comments about your body, that might also be a good reason to consider a smaller implant size. The more drastic the change in your breast size, the more noticeable your implants will be to people who know you well. 

Finally, think about your current wardrobe. Are you hoping to complement your personal style with some new cleavage in your favorite tops and dresses? If so, you will want an implant big enough to fill out your most stylish pieces. If you want the freedom to go braless, a smaller implant might be the better choice.

What size implant will fit you best over time?

A breast augmentation procedure should help you feel like the best version of yourself at every stage of your life.

If you hope to become pregnant in the next few years, discuss the risks with your plastic surgeon, since the breast implant procedure may impact your breastfeeding ability in some cases. If you are considering breast implants and hoping to breastfeed in the future, share your goals with your plastic surgeon before choosing an implant size.

Breast implants often last at least 10-30 years, although we do know that the spontaneous implant failure rate does increase after ten years.  For this reason, it is worth considering what size breast implants you will feel comfortable with fifteen years from now. Will your future self wish you had gone bigger or smaller? While you can always get a breast augmentation revision to correct the results you are unhappy with, most people would prefer to avoid unnecessary surgery.

If you are a young person considering breast implants, consider the ways your breasts will naturally change as you age. Breast tissue loses firmness and fullness as you age and is prone to drooping. If you choose a heavy implant when you are young, your breasts are more likely to droop as you age. Again, you can choose to revise your breast augmentation in the future or get a breast lift to raise drooping breasts. However, some people would like to avoid further procedures down the line.

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