5 S’s of Breast Augmentation – IMPLANT SIZE
Women interested in breast augmentation have many different factors to consider. I created the “5 S’s of Breast Augmentation” blog series to help prospective patients navigate this process. The 5 S’s are: substance (silicone versus saline versus fat), scar location (inframammary, periareolar), surface characteristics (textured versus smooth), size (volume) and shape (round versus anatomic).
In my last post I covered breast implant substance, a critical choice in determining how natural your breasts will feel.
This post will address another important decision all interested women must make: implant size. One of the most common questions perspective patients have is “what breast implant size should I choose?”
Breast Implant Size
Breast implant volume is one of the most important considerations that determine the end result of a breast augmentation procedure. Breast implant size is measured in cubic centimeters (cc’s) or milliliters, typically from 100cc to 800cc, or even larger for custom-made implants.
Implant size choice is usually determined by a combination of the woman’s desired increase in volume based on her starting point, and what I refer to as her ‘soft tissue characteristics,’ meaning the anatomic measurements of her existing breast tissue. More and more commonly the trend nationally is toward a higher degree of naturalness of the desired final result.
Brassiere cup size is variable and depends on the manufacturer. For example, Victoria Secrets may size a woman larger than a bra purchased from Nordstrom. Generally speaking, however, 150cc equates to one cup size. In other words, a woman looking to increase from an A cup to a C cup can anticipate an increase in volume of around 300cc.
Many (but not all) women want an enhanced appearance without the look of being overly large. An important concept I educate patients on is the ability to ‘dress up or dress down’ her breasts depending on the social or professional setting. Breasts that are very large may be easy to highlight, but more difficult to ‘dress down’ if a certain setting (e.g. job interview) calls for this. To achieve this result it’s very important for a qualified plastic surgeon to educate the patient on how each implant size will alter not only her appearance, but her function and lifestyle.
One of the best ways I have found to educate patients on size options is for the patient to try on different implant sizers in my office to see how each option will look in relation to the rest of her body. This process should take as long as necessary until the patient is comfortable with her decision. Many women will bring a trusted friend or significant other to the consultation for additional support.
The so-called ‘rice test’ is another very effective way to ‘live with’ the desired volume increase at home. Some of my health-conscious patients in Austin have called this the quinoa test because quinoa is more readily available in their homes. Either way, this exercise is effective because it provides information that is otherwise impossible for the surgeon to determine: How will your new cup size impact your ability to jog? Enjoy yoga? Hug your loved ones?
Equally important, patients should ask to view various before and after images of previous augmentation patients with a similar body type.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. Let my team know if you have any questions. The next article in this series will discuss the substances that are available to provide the increased volume in breast augmentation.