Statistically speaking, breast augmentation has been the leading cosmetic surgical procedure in the country since 2006, with almost 314,000 procedures carried out in 2018 alone, according to the American Society for Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The biggest choice to make when considering breast implants, if you’ll pardon the pun, is the size of the breast implant itself, and moreover, what is the right-sized breast implant for your body.
This can be a challenge and you certainly want to get it right the first time. After all, the ASPS has reported that the number one reason that women undergo breast implant revision is to change the implant size for something bigger.
Most women will think of breast size in terms of a bra’s cup size without also considering the differences in sizes between manufacturers. It can often be difficult to visualize how the implant size will translate to the final look of the breasts after accounting for placement, muscle, and frame size.
The first step, though, is to determine the right breast implants for your frame, and you’ll want to do so by first considering the following points.
Size Yourself Up
Take the time to really get to know yourself. Consider your height, your weight, the width of your shoulders, the width of your hips, your body frame, and of course your current breast volume. This will go a long way toward helping you pick out the right sized implants. You should have accurate measurements of your chest, the distance between your breasts, and their base width.
Another important factor that needs to be considered is how loose your skin is. If there isn’t enough tissue to cover the implant, rippling will occur. The body shape is also another important factor: for larger patients, implants that would fit the majority of C-cup bras would barely be noticeable, whereas they’ll be plenty big enough for other women. Also, along those same lines, those with a smaller frame may end up causing themselves fairly severe back pain if they select implants that are too large and heavy for them to comfortably carry, according to Jason I. Altman, breast implant expert of Miami, FL.
Think About Your Wardrobe
What’s your ultimate goal? Do you want to be able to better fill out your favorite low cut dress? Then a larger-sized implant providing you with ample cleavage may be the way to go. On the other hand, maybe you’re concerned about drawing any unwanted attention? Then you’ll want to perhaps consider smaller sizes.
Are You Into Keeping Fit?
Any athlete or runner with large breasts can attest to the troubles and discomfort that they can cause. If you’re into fitness, you might want to consider avoiding larger implants that may interfere with your routine and get in your way.
Consider Your Age
During pregnancy, breasts obviously grow and shrink, so if you are yet to have children and plan to do so, it may be wise to wait until after to avoid any potential revision surgery. It’s also important to think about how your new breasts will look long-term as you age, as opposed to how great they’ll look right now. Breasts will, unfortunately, naturally sag as we age, and they’ll also begin to take on a flatter profile. If you opt for larger, heavier implants, you’re likely to see extra sagging as you age due to a loss of elasticity in the ligaments that support the breasts.
Don’t Spend Too Much Time Worrying About Bra Sizes
Bra sizes are subjective. Every woman wears a bra differently, and like any piece of clothing, sizes do vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. You can, by all means, kick off the conversation with your doctor by saying that you want to be a C or a D cup, but this won’t be much of a deciding factor in the long run.
It’s All About Volume
Many women are surprised to find that breast implants aren’t measured in cup sizes, but instead cubic centimeters. The implants vary in size from 120 to 850 cubic centimeters, with most women opting for around 300 to 400 cc implants. That may sound like a lot of cubic centimeters, but in fact, there’s only a difference of 2 ounces between a 340 cc implant and a 400 cc implant.
Take Them Out for a Test Drive
Accurately visualizing what the implants will look like post-surgery is nearly impossible when thinking in terms of units of volume, so the vast majority of plastic surgeons will offer ways for patients to “try them out,” so to speak. Whether it’s a 3D computer simulation or a silicone breast implant “sizer” that women can wear around to get the feel, there are many options and possibilities available.
Methods as these can only be considered to be around 85% accurate, however, as they can never truly account for such things as each patient’s breast tissue elasticity.
Don’t Go Overboard
As they say, everything in moderation. When you get to the larger end of the breast implant scale, things can start to look less natural and more round, and the implant even sometimes spills over to your armpits or the middle of your chest. What’s most important to consider is that by choosing implants that are too large for your breast tissue and frame, you are significantly opening yourself up to risks and complications, such as tissue thinning, implant sagging, ripples beneath the skin, and premature aging of the breasts. Double bubble complication can also occur as a result of the extra weight, which is where either one or both implants fall below the breast’s natural inframammary crease, creating an indentation that’s known as the “four breasts” effect.
Always Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
This should always go without saying, however, many women start to become fixated on getting their money’s worth and choosing larger-sized implants. You should always work with your surgeon to find the right size to fit your body, and it’s important to listen to and take in everything they have to say and every recommendation that they make. If they disagree with your choices, there’s probably a very good reason to consider it.