5 Factors that Determine Breast Implant Size

Woman with her hand on her face
breast assessment

Deciding to undergo breast augmentation is a personal choice. You may ask for other opinions whether you should go forward with the elective surgery, but ultimately the decision is yours alone to make.

When it comes to choosing the size of your implants you can’t just go it alone. You may have a preconceived idea of the cup size you would like to be or the number of cc’s you think you want, but in the end, five anatomic measurements and the expertise of your plastic surgeon will determine the best implant size for you.

breast assessment

Your breast augmentation consultation with Dr. Lee at Changes Plastic Surgery begins with computer imaging where 6 cameras capture your photo and state-of-the-art technology generates a 3-dimensional avatar.   This virtual pre-augmentation “you” is complete with measurements of the following:

1. Suprasternal to Nipple – Represented by the green line drawn from the neck to each nipple.

2. Midline to Nipple – Represented by the horizontal green line drawn from nipple to nipple.

3. Inframammary Fold to Nipple – Seen above as a curved white line from beneath the breast to the nipple.

4. Base Width – The measurement of each breast from side to side, represented by the horizontal white lines above.

5. Upper Pole Thickness – The thickness of the skin of the upper breast measured with calipers.

Note that this sample patient shows slight asymmetry in all measurements (which is normal).   The estimated size of the natural breast is given in cc’s in the diagram.   For accuracy, Dr. Lee takes physical measurements in addition to the ones computer-generated.

Perhaps the two most important measurements to determine the appropriate implant size are the breast width and the upper pole thickness. Knowing the breast width is a starting point for choosing an implant that your body can realistically “carry” without risk of weakening the natural fold of your breast. Too large, too heavy breasts can cause premature sagging.

Upper pole thickness must be at least 3 cm in order to qualify a patient for above the muscle placement of the implant. Less than 3 cm, the skin is thin and would not conceal the implant as well if placed above the muscle. A higher risk of visible “rippling” of the implant may be seen.

Breast augmentation is definitely your own personal choice and even how big you go is your prerogative. There are an increasing number of implants on the market in all shapes, sizes, texture, and content (silicone or saline). Implant manufacturers supply guidelines for sizing based on the number of cc’s the implant is filled with and the diameter of its shell.

Implants today are made in varying diameters and projection to accommodate the smaller patients who desire greater augmentation. Ultimately a successful augmentation is one that gives you the size you desire without compromising your own anatomy to achieve it.

For more information on breast augmentation and implants sizes, please contact Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa in San Diego, CA.

Copyright 2013 Jill Darrah for Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa


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