Those who have decided to undergo a breast augmentation with implants know that there’s a lot more that goes into this decision than just choosing your preferred provider. Once you’ve committed to getting your breasts done, it’s time to discuss the nitty gritty with your plastic surgeon—especially when it comes to choosing the right implant size for you and your aesthetic goals.
While you may already have a cup size in mind, it’s rather common for your initial choice to be an unfavorable pick for your specific case. So, when weighing your options with your doctor, it’s important to keep a few key factors in mind. Here, we tapped Houston, TX plastic surgeon Kriti Mohan, MD for the sizing rules everyone should follow when picking the best implants for your body.
First, consider your frame, height, and weight.
Choosing implants that are proportional to your body are key to a natural-looking result. “A patient’s frame—including her height and weight—and anatomy of her breasts are crucial to consider when selecting implant size,” explains Dr. Mohan. “The amount of breast tissue you have, the skin quality, and the position and shape of your breasts are tantamount to think about when identifying the appropriate range of implant sizes.”
When reviewing implant options, your provider will likely look at the base width of your breasts (the width of your chest wall) and compare it to the base width of potential implants. If you have a narrow chest base, you may want to consider smaller implants that have a matching base width in order to keep your breast size more natural-looking. “Base width is important as this can determine how much or little cleavage a patient will have,” adds Dr. Mohan.
Remember, implant size and cup size are not the same thing.
“Implant size is not the same as cup size, and although there is some variation, about 100 to 150cc is approximately one cup size,” explains Dr. Mohan. That said, cup sizes often vary by the brand of the bra, so it’s typically not the easiest way to align your sizing preferences with what your surgeon is envisioning. In cases like this, it’s probably best to bring visual inspiration to better help your surgeon understand what you’re looking for (more on photo inspiration later!).
The brand of your implant matters.
The specific brand of the implant you decide to move forward with plays a major role in your overall augmentation experience. Mentor, one of the leading breast implant manufacturers in the United States, has three different implant options available: MemoryGel®, MemoryGel Xtra®, and MemoryGel BOOST™.
In general, the implants all provide a slightly different look regardless of their CCs. MemoryGel is known for its natural feel; MemoryGel Xtra offers that same soft feel but with more projection and fullness; and MemoryGel Boost holds its shape and measurements in any position, which allows for additional upper pole volume (the fullness above the breast nipple).
“One of the great benefits of the MemoryGel Xtra implant from the standard MemoryGel is the decrease in rippling it can provide, especially for thin-skinned or very lean patients, while still maintaining Mentor’s classic soft shell which provides for an extremely natural feel,” explains Dr. Mohan. “The MemoryGel Boost implant goes even further by additionally maintaining significant upper pole fullness for those patients who are seeking a more ‘augmented’ look, with increased roundness of shape while still having the natural Mentor [breast implant] feel.”
Projection is more important than you think.
While sizing is often the focus of breast augmentation discussions, there are many factors other than volume to consider when selecting implants. “Projection refers to how far the breast implant extends forward in front of your chest, whereas fullness covers overall volume,” clarifies Dr. Mohan. “To me, projection is particularly important, as it heavily determines how much fullness and perkiness a patient will have, which is why I always prefer the higher-profile implants to create that perky, cute look many patients desire.”
Discuss the benefits of the different implant shapes with your doctor.
While it is generally thought that teardrop-shaped implants will create a more natural anatomic slope than a round implant, Dr. Mohan says that with the effect of gravity, even a round-shaped implant can achieve this when sized appropriately. Round implants also tend to provide more prominent fullness in both the upper and lower breast, whereas teardrop is more focused on added volume in the lower breast, so your doctor will likely advise you on which shape will be best for your sizing goals.
Bring photos to your consultation.
“I always encourage my patients to bring ‘wish pics,’ or photos of [breasts] they prefer [since] this can really help to ensure that both the patient and surgeon are on the same page,” says Dr. Mohan. “While it is still important to realize that not all of these goal pictures may be attainable for every frame and body type, they still can be a valuable tool in narrowing down a patient’s ultimate sizing goal.”
Implant placement can affect sizing.
“Although not every patient is a candidate for either, placement above the muscle can make the implant appear larger than placement below the muscle, so this can also be a consideration when selecting sizing,” explains Dr. Mohan. An experienced surgeon will be able to tell you which implant placement is preferred for you.
The bottom line
Ultimately, only you and an experienced provider can determine which implant size is best for you and your goals. That said, if you keep these factors in mind when discussing your options with your plastic surgeon, you’ll have a better chance of choosing implants that meet your ideal expectations.