How Big (or Small) Should I Go?
Deciding upon the right implant size can be the most challenging part of this operation. This is because cup size is not standardized. It varies among bra manufacturers and also among a single manufacturer’s products. For example, the cup of a 32C bra is smaller than the cup of a 34C bra, even when made by the same company. So telling your surgeon which cup size you desire may be of limited help. Some surgeons may ask your desired cup size to get a general idea of your goals. Do not misinterpret this as a guarantee of final size.
Typically, implant sizes range from 6 to 18 fluid ounces, or 200-600 ml, although larger and smaller implants are available. Implants are manufactured in 25-30 ml increments. As the volume of the implant grows, so does its diameter and projection. See this printable pdf file for details about implant size, diameter, and projection for both saline and silicone implants. This file shows details about saline and silicone implants made by one of the major implant manufacturers. All manufacturers make implants which are similar in specifications to these, although minor variations do exist.
Letting Your Surgeon Decide Size: Is It Really a Good Idea?
The advantage of letting your surgeon select size is that your plastic surgeon can use your measurements to select implants that are proportionate to your body. The disadvantages are that you might instead want to be either larger than or smaller than what your plastic surgeon considers proportionate. Plus, some women’s breast diameters are not proportionate to the rest of their bodies, which creates another opportunity for getting the size wrong. Finally, some plastic surgeons tend to make all of their patients a size the plastic surgeon feels is aesthetic, without consideration that not all women share the same ideas for breast aesthetics.
Alternatively, selecting a size yourself can be a daunting task, as you most likely have never done this before. Perhaps the best option is for you to have an idea of the size you want to be (in mls, not cup size) and then let your plastic surgeon guide you within that range. Your input is needed, as I have observed that (for example) multiple women with similar bodies and breasts may all select different sizes, and may all be pleased with their selections.
Communication is critical. The more honest you are with yourself and your plastic surgeon regarding your desired size, the more likely you will be pleased with your result. But remember, final breast size and cup size cannot be guaranteed.
Because of the difficulty in selecting implant size, some surgeons use adjustable saline implants. Adjustable implants have a small port (for adding or removing saline) that is placed under the skin near the breast. After surgery, your surgeon can easily and painlessly add or remove saline from your implants. The main drawback is that your desired size may still not be achieved. Your surgeon will have at most a 50 ml leeway in adjusting the volume. Adding or removing 50 ml only alters breast size by about 3 tablespoons. So you and your surgeon must still identify an implant size that is close to your desired size. Other disadvantages are that this is only an option with saline implants, and you will eventually require another operation to remove your ports. Because of these disadvantages, most surgeons do not use adjustable implants.
More Info on Implant Size Selection
Dr. Vennemeyer and Dr. Loftus have very detailed opinions on the issue of implant size, as they feel that size is among the most important decisions you will make. Be absolutely sure to visit their blog called Size Matters to get their insight on this important issue. Watch our video about choosing implant size. Of course, you will want to look at some Breast Augmentation Before and After Photos, too.