So you’ve made the decision to get breast implants, and you want to learn more about the procedure and having a more feminine figure. But if you’re like many of the breast augmentation patients I see at my Fairfield, CT practice, you may be feeling a bit lost about how to decide on the size of breast implants you want.
Many women describe the size they want in terms of bra cup sizes. A patient, for example, will say she wants to increase from a B cup to a D cup. Unfortunately, bras are a notoriously inexact way to choose a breast implant size because — as I’m sure you have experienced — one D-cup bra may be significantly smaller or larger than another. What constitutes a “D cup” varies from one bra maker to the next.
In another common scenario, a patient who admires the results of a friend’s breast augmentation may request the same size implants. That may be a good starting point, but if the patient has a different body type than her friend, the same sized implants wouldn’t produce the desired outcome.
So, what’s the best way to choose the size of your breast implants? The first step is choosing an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon who makes you feel comfortable discussing your cosmetic goals. The best breast augmentation outcomes typically come from a collaboration between the surgeon and the patient — not only on the size of the implants, but on all aspects of the procedure. My job as a plastic surgeon is to use my expertise not to suggest identical techniques for each patient, but to guide patients through the likely outcomes of the decisions they make.
There are also some very useful tools for breast augmentation patients who want to envision the types of results they can achieve:
- Before-and-after photos: It’s very helpful to look at a plastic surgeon’s gallery of before-and-after photos of patients with similar body types to yours, paying careful attention to the results by the size of implants used. The photos also give you a good idea of a surgeon’s technique.
- Rice bags: Measuring rice into a knotted pantyhose can simulate breast implants of different sizes. This may seem rather rudimentary, but it remains an effective way to help patients get an idea of the breast implant size that they want. The Rice Test offers a good chart showing how volumes of rice equate to different implant sizes.
- 3D imaging systems, such as VECTRA®: Advanced imaging systems provide patients with an adjustable 3-dimensional view of what the results may look like, easily adjustable for many different sizes of implants. As I wrote in an earlier blog post on VECTRA, it’s an excellent educational tool that truly helps patients make decisions about the implants they want.
Ultimately, the choice is a highly personal one that you need to make for yourself. I will add one final thought: Most women who choose to change the size of their implants after the initial procedure do so because they want bigger implants.