Selecting the size for your new breast implants can be a difficult task. Many women allow this decision to “stress them out” because they fear making the wrong decision. I will start out by saying that while the decision is important, it should not be a major source of anxiety. Many women are too focused on the volume number (or “cc’s”) when the truth is that there is very little noticeable difference between close volumes – only your plastic surgeon (maybe) will be able to tell the difference between a 330 cc implant and a 350 cc implant after it is implanted. In general, people only notice volume differences of at least 50 cc’s.
Here are a few guidelines to help you choose your implant size.
Determine your personal preference of size – This is done by looking at magazines and photographs in order to determine “how big” you want to be. You should find 3 photographs: “just right”, “too big”, and “too small.” You should bring these photographs with you so that your surgeon will have a sense of what you are looking for.
As implants get larger, they also get wider – This concept is important in choosing a size implant that fits your body. If you are very small framed, then large implants may be too close to each other in the center or may protrude off the side of your chest. Your doctor will measure the width of your chest to determine you “base diameter.” This will help him guide you towards a size that fits your body shape and size. Breast implants are now available in several different shapes such as low projection and high projection. This gives you added ability to have an implant that fits your body.
You may not be able to be as large as want – It is not possible to make a big jump in breast size in all women. This is because there may not be enough tissue (breast and skin) to allow for a very large increase in size. Your doctor will examine you to be sure, but size increases of more than 2 full cup sizes may not be safe. If you are an A cup, and desire to be a DD, this may not be possible in a single operation. You may have to increase to a full C, than a few years later (after your tissue has stretched out) have the implants increased in size to a DD.
Small volume differences may not be noticeable – Most people only notice volume changes of at least 50 cc’s, so if you cannot decide between a 330 cc implant and a 350 cc implant, so not stress because the difference will be difficult to tell once they are placed. When trying different sizes, you should increase and decrease by 50 cc volumes
Larger implants are heavier – As an implant gets larger, it also gets heavier. This means that very large implants may result in shoulder and back pain, similar to the complaints of women requesting breast reduction surgery. Also, heavier implants may increase the likelihood of future breast sagging, or ptosis.
- Take your time – You should not feel rushed or pressured into choosing your implant size. Your surgeon should allow you time to “try on” the implants and examine yourself in clothing. It is best to try them with a simple, non-padded, non-push-up bra, and a tight t-shirt. This will give you the best idea about your post-operative result. Many surgeons will also allow you to borrow the sample implants so that you can see how you feel about the size of the implants over a few days. I routinely tell my patients to wear the implants for a few days, go out to dinner, visit friends, or wear them to work – this is the best way to determine how you feel about the size.
So, implant size is a combination of personal preference and your body’s shape and size. You should have an idea of what size breasts you ultimately want to have, and your doctor should be able to tell you if that size is safe for you. Many Plastic Surgeons now have the ability to use computer simulations to show you what you will look like with different size implants. This may be helpful, but there is nothing better than wearing the implants for a few days.