Breast Implants: Is Bigger Always Better?
We live in a society that promotes “bigger is always better”; but is that true with plastic surgery, specifically in relation to breast augmentations? Once you’ve decided to have a breast procedure, there are many choices to make from the type of breast implant (silicone versus saline), muscle placement, breast incision type, and lastly the size of the implant. Everyone has an idea of what size they want, but it is important to take into consideration the proportion of one’s breasts to one’s body size, to achieve the most aesthetically pleasing silhouette.
When people think of the size of an implant, they usually request a cup size, but breast implants are measured in cubic centimeters (cc’s), which refers the amount of liquid or gel an implant holds. About 150 to 200 cc’s is equivalent to an increase of approximately one, to one-and-a-half cup sizes. Breast augmentations can be as small as 125cc’s for correcting symmetry, and can be up to 400-500 cc’s, depending on the patient’s anatomy.
Breast Implants & Profile Types
In addition to cc’s, breast implants come in a variety of profiles including low profile, moderate profile, moderate plus profile, high profile, and extra full profile. The higher the profile of the implant, the narrower the base and the more the implant will project. Low profiles are hardly ever used, but moderate profiles have the widest bases. Moderate plus profiles have greater projection, but retain the wide base similarly to the moderate profile. High profiles offer more projection with a narrower base (often compared to the shape of a tennis ball). Ultra high profiles provide the greatest amount of upper fullness to the breasts with the highest amount of projection with a narrow base.
The size and projection of the implant is an important decision, that will most affect the results of a breast augmentation, so it is important to spend plenty of time during the consultation speaking with your surgeon about choosing the right implant size. In order to maintain proportion, it is important to take into account a patient’s height, weight, body frame, hip and shoulder width, in addition to the amount of breast tissue the patient already has. Shorter and more petite patients will need a smaller sized implant compared to a patient with a broader frame. There are limits to how big one may go; a patient’s current breast tissue needs to be ample to cover the implant, and the patient’s chest and shoulder width needs to be able to accommodate the width of the implant. For patients with disproportionate issues, it is also quite common for women to have different implant sizes for each breast to achieve symmetrical results.
During the consultation, the plastic surgeon will evaluate a patient’s limits for implant width by taking measurements of the breast base width and evaluating the soft tissue envelope. The surgeon will make a recommendation on kind and size of the implant, and the patient will try on several sizer breast implants using a sizer bra. This will help give them a feel for the size and the weight of the implant.
Patients usually either ask for one of two things. Some patients take a conservative approach because they want something that looks natural, where family and friends cannot tell they’ve had a ‘boob job’. Other patients want to go bigger, and for the surgery to be more obvious. I do recommend taking your time when trying on the sizers, and if you are unable to make up your mind, don’t hesitate to ask to come back again to make sure you are satisfied with your choice. It is important to remember that when picking a size, these will be the size of your breasts for years to come, and you do not want to subject yourself to another surgery because you found out that the size was not right for you.
I personally recommend choosing a size that you’ve always pictured for yourself, as long as it is within the limits of what is safe for your body type. Regardless, breast augmentation surgery will only be successful if the patient achieves the breast and body proportions they seek.
If you’re interested in learning more about breast augmentation, check out some of our most frequently asked questions, and of course, feel free to leave a question in the comments below!