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Size Really Does Matter

When it comes to breast augmentation, selecting the exact proper sized implants is probably the most critical decision for achieving the desired results. Yes, breast implant type (silicone versus saline), profile (ultra-high, high and moderate) and placement location of the implants (submuscular versus submammary) are also very important factors that need to be considered as they will significantly impact the final result; however, it is the size of the implants that is the main determinant for the resulting size of the breasts and which has the most influence on patient satisfaction.

The surgery can be expertly performed resulting in breasts that have great shape and overall appearance as well as feel ABSOLUTELY terrific but if they are not the size truly desired (expressed or imagined), then the woman won’t ever be fully satisfied. In fact, the most common reason for secondary breast surgery is not due to complications from the primary surgery but rather because the patient desires to have a different implant size (usually larger).

The main reason that women undergo breast augmentation is to attain larger breasts, and achieving the breast volume they desire is imperative.

My personal philosophy during surgery is that if there is any doubt about which size implant would most appropriately meet that patient’s desires, I will virtually always select the larger one.

Size Really Does Matter

Implant Size ⇏ Cup Size

Before undergoing breast augmentation surgery, I make sure that my patients realize that a specific breast implant size does not translate directly into a particular bra cup size. Most bras made by different companies will not fit exactly the same even if they are labeled with the identical size because there are no set standards for cup sizes. Furthermore, breast implants are measured in cubic centimeters (cc’s) rather than cup size so that their impact on the ultimate results will differ among patients due to a multitude of variables such as the width of each woman’s chest wall, the amount of breast tissue present and the vertical breast height.

Selecting the Breast Implant Size

In order to be able to ultimately select the most appropriate breast implant size for a patient, I have her explicitly describe to me what she is looking for and in as many ways as possible – as well as what she absolutely doesn’t want. This can also include her preconceived notions regarding particular cup sizes.

With my patients, I find that the usage of implant sizers during the consultation is a very effective way to identify a range of implant sizes as well as profiles (projections) that may ultimately provide the desired outcome.

For both my patients and me.

The Rice Test

I am definitely NOT a proponent of the “rice test” for many reasons (it is very misleading and inaccurate), and I don’t use it, suggest or recommend it to my patients. They should never base their implant size decisions on the appearances obtained when experimenting with this approach.

The reason that I mention this is that some patients read about it on the Internet or heard it from a friend and may take it as a true simulation of the potential results.

It is NOT.

This simple technique for “simulating” an implant involves inserting uncooked rice into an old pair of pantyhose and tying off the ends. The following chart provides an approximate correlation between the amount of rice and the simulated implant volume:

Amount of Rice Approximate Implant Volume
½ cup 120cc
⅔ cup 160cc
¾ cup 180cc
1 cup 240cc
1 ¼ cups 300cc
1 ⅓ cups 320cc
1 ½ cups 360cc
1 ⅔ cups 400cc
1 ¾ cups 420cc
2 cups 480cc
2 ¼ cups 540cc
2 ⅓ cups 560cc
2 ½ cups 600cc
2 ⅔ cups 640cc
2 ¾ cups 660cc
3 cups 720cc

The Arizona Center for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

Photographs, imaging, and trying on different implant sizes (and styles) can be helpful, but clearly they have their limitations. In the end, I strongly believe that selecting the most appropriate size (and style) of implants is both a science and an art, and many factors need to be taken into account in order to achieve the results that you desire.

At the Arizona Center for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, I offer breast augmentation that is totally individualized to meet your unique needs and have extensive experience and the aesthetic “eye” as well as the science to help make your desires a reality.

If you are interested in breast augmentation or any other breast enhancement procedure, please call my office at (480) 451-3000 or fill out our online contact form today. I am board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).