Choosing the Right Breast Implant Size for Your Body & Lifestyle

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By Jeffrey Donaldson, MD |

Choosing the Right Breast Implant Size for Your Body & Lifestyle

For many women, the decision to get a breast augmentation is a process that requires several different factors before reaching the final decision. One such factor that is often quite difficult is choosing the right size for the implant — not too large, not too small. We know that breast size affects many aspects of a woman’s life, including her relationships, social interactions and overall physical well-being. We want to make sure that patients have the resources and guidance to choose the perfect implant size!

A Quick Look At A Day In The Life Of Our Breast Augmentation Patients (2nd Consultation – 30 Minutes)

  1. Arrive at our office, meet our team, walk to a private room, remove bra & change into a robe
  2. Discuss your personal goals with the provider and they will explain the surgical plan
  3. The provider will collect various measurements of your breastband
  4. Explore the different types of implant profiles we have available (moderate profile, full profile, extra-full profile, low profile & low plus profile)
  5. Learn more about the differences in gel cohesivity
  6. Ensure that the chosen implant size and profile match your base measurements
  7. Try on the implants over your natural breasts with a sports/compression bra (usually at least 2 sizes to give you options and account for potential asymmetry)
  8. Confirm that this is the right decision for you and set your surgery date

What Factors Play Into The Implant Sizing Process?

Here are some of the most important factors to consider and discuss with your surgeon before settling on what implant size to choose for your breast augmentation.

Body Measurements Include:

  • Sternal notch to nipple (bilateral)
  • Distance between nipples
  • Base width (bilateral)
  • Nipple to the inframammary fold

We all know that bra cups are typically sized in A, B, C and up, but implants are measured in cubic centimeters — cc for short. For approximately every 150 to 200 ccs, the breasts will usually increase about one or one and a half cup sizes. That can vary a bit depending on your specific measurements and even the bra manufacturer, but it gives you an idea! You can always try on different sizes with specialized bras during your consultation to see how the implants look and feel on your body.

With such a large range of sizes, it’s important to realize that not every woman’s body type and breasts will be able to handle implants higher up on the scale. Your body type, including the width of your natural breasts and the shape and size of the chest wall, will factor into the ideal size of the implant to create the desired fullness, shape, and profile.

Your body type, including the width of your natural breasts and the shape and size of the chest wall, will factor into the ideal size of the implant to create the desired fullness, shape, and profile.

Choosing between different breast implants

Body Shape & Frame

It should come as no surprise that larger breasts, whether natural or augmented, are heavy. This can take a toll on a woman’s entire body. Women with larger frames and/or stronger muscles are best equipped to handle large breast implants, but even they can be susceptible to issues. Choosing a too-large breast implant size can lead to fatigue, back and shoulder pain, and potentially even the need for a breast reduction.

Depending on your frame, a high, moderate, or low profile may work best. For those with a small frame, a high profile may be ideal because this option has a narrower width. While a low volume option may work for those with broad shoulders and a larger frame to create an even proportion.

Lifestyle Factors

Now that we have covered several body-related factors to consider, it’s time to talk about lifestyle. For active women, athletes, or women with more physically demanding jobs, larger breast implants may not be ideal. It’s simple: the larger the breasts, the more tiresome and potentially painful it will be to carry the extra weight while working, running, lifting weights or playing a sport.

It’s also important for you to think about what kinds of clothing you normally like to wear, and if those items will be compatible with larger breast implant sizes. Augmentation will certainly affect how shirts, bras, swimsuit tops, and dresses fit, and additional procedures like lifts or reconstructions will affect things even further.

Desired Gel Cohesivity 

We offer three different types of gels, all of which are considered “gummy” silicone implants. All gel implants are designed to maintain upper pole retention, but some maintain a greater percentage than others. At Donaldson Plastic Surgery, we use the Natrelle Inspira Silicone Implants from Allergan.

Your Options Include:
  • Responsive: Least cohesive, softest, some drop to lower pole with an 84% upper pole retention rate
  • Soft Touch: More upper pole and cleavage, provides both upper pole and lower pole migration and a 91% upper pole retention
  • Cohesive: Firm, stable, very projecting, minimal lower pole migration and 97% upper pole retention

*We can also place a saline implant if you prefer, but silicone is our stable because it is the most natural and durable option.

How Your Plastic Surgeon Can Help

Breast implant fullness profiles

When you meet with our team for your consultation, they will start the conversation by asking what your desires are for your breasts.

If you have inspiration photos to show how you’d like your breasts to look, these can help guide the conversation between you and your surgeon. Photos of women with fuller cleavage will guide your surgeon to recommend a more high-profile style implant, and photos of women with more natural-looking breasts will direct your surgeon to recommend a more moderate-profile implant. Ideally, your model will have a similar build to you.

 During your consultation, your surgeon will talk to you about all of the different characteristics of breast implants, such as silicone vs. saline, the cohesivity of the gel, and the different projections you can get. Your surgeon will also go over whether your implant should be placed over the muscle, under the muscle, or in a dual-plane position.

Finding the Right Size for You

Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert will then take measurements of your chest that help to provide a range for the size of implants that would be best for your frame. The proper implant size for you is typically one that doesn’t exceed the outer borders of your chest. Once a size range is established, Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert will bring you a bunch of implants in that range with different profiles to choose from, and you will try them all on and see what you like the best!

Discussing breast implant sizes with breast augmentation surgeon

If you are in between two different sizes, your surgeon may recommend going with the bigger-sized implant because they will appear a bit smaller once they are inside the body. Many breast augmentation revisions occur because patients wish to go with bigger implants than those they originally chose.

Ready to Meet With Our Qualified Surgeons?

There’s a lot to think about when deciding on breast implant sizes. If you’re considering breast augmentation surgery in Columbus Ohio and are wondering if it’s right for you, we would love to talk to you. Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert will perform a personalized consultation that takes into account your specific anatomy and the results you’re looking for. They will work with you to determine the best option according to your body shape. Call today to schedule a consultation and we can help make sure that you get the best results from your breast augmentation surgery.

Updated June 1, 2022*

Jeffrey Donaldson, MD Author Bio

About The Author

Jeffrey Donaldson, MD has more than 20 years of experience performing successful breast reduction surgeries for women in Columbus, Ohio and the entirety of the United States. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, he uses his surgical expertise to help his patients reclaim their own confidence and feel more comfortable in their bodies each day.

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