Dr. Kim is often asked how to choose the best breast implant size by her Houston breast augmentation patients. While this decision is a very personal one, it is often also a very challenging one, as many women do not fully understand how their ideal bra size translates to the exact size or, more specifically, volume of their breast implants.
The first thing that is important for patients choosing a breast implant size to understand is that bra cup sizes vary wildly from retailer to retailer and are not an exact measurement of breast size. Breast implant sizes are measured by exact volume in cubic centimeters (cc’s), so while a cup size might give you a ballpark range of the overall breast size you are trying to achieve, they will not help you choose an exact breast implant size.
Try to put the idea of C cup and D cup out of your mind while you consider your options. Also, remember that your natural breast tissues will also contribute to the overall size of your breasts after implants have been placed provided your implants are not part of a breast reconstruction procedure.
Breast Implant Sizes
A great place to start your journey to understanding breast implant sizes is with the range of implant sizes or, rather, volumes available in the U.S. There is slight variation in size availability for saline and silicone breast implants, however in general, breast implant volumes range from about 120cc to 850cc.
Saline implants can be overfilled to achieve a slightly larger size, however most patients do not want breast implants that large. In fact, some states even dictate that plastic surgeons may not supply patients with breast implants larger than a certain size (usually 1000cc to 1200cc).
In choosing a breast implant size, it also helps to remember that your skin must stretch to accommodate the implants you choose, so if you have poor skin elasticity or are prone to stretch marks, your cosmetic results may be best if you choose implants that will not put undue stress on your skin.
Breast Implant Profiles
In addition to different volumes, breast implants also come in four different profiles: low, moderate, moderate plus and high profile. The implant profile affects the projection of your breast implants, and although they are not directly related to the implant size, they can affect how large or natural your breasts appear.
The greater the profile of your breast implant, the greater the height of your breast side wall. Many patients who desire more upper pole fullness, or cleavage, and are less concerned that their implants look natural choose high profile implants, as do patients with very narrow breasts.
Tools to Help You Choose a Breast Implant Size
There are many tools Dr. Kim can provide you with to help you visualize how different breast implant sizes would look after surgery. Although none of them offer an exact representation, they can still give you a general idea of the look and proportions implants would create.
Implant sizer bras are helpful to some patients as they struggle to imagine how they would look with larger breasts. Sizer bras have pockets in them designed to hold replica breast implants of different sizes, allowing you to contrast and compare the effect different breast implant volumes has on your contours. Try on sizer bras with a swimsuit, t-shirt and other tops to see a general approximation of the effect breast implants would have.
A measuring tape can also be a great help. Having your surgeon take measurements of your chest wall dimensions will help you get a better understanding of your existing body proportions and how they would change with different breast implants. Your surgeon will provide you with appropriate context and a brief anatomy lesson during this stage of the decision-making process.
One of the best resources available to patients choosing a breast implant size is their surgeon’s gallery of breast augmentation before and after photos. Looking at before and after photos of other patients who share a similar build, existing breast size and desired breast size can provide some of the most useful direction to women considering implants. Review as many before and after photos as possible as you make your decision.
Input From Your Surgeon
Dr. Kim will certainly help guide you throughout the process of choosing your ideal breast implants. However, keep in mind that decisions about your implants, including their size, must ultimately rest with you.
Be sure to choose a surgeon who makes you feel comfortable asking questions and gathering all of the information you need to make an informed choice. While Dr. Kim has spent many years helping women in The Woodlands, Katy and Houston choose their breast implants and can offer you invaluable input, you must feel confident in your decision to ensure your expectations for breast augmentation are met.