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How To Determine The Right Breast Implant Size For You

Having been in practice for close to 20 years, I have noticed a change in the volume of breast implants that patients are choosing at the time of their consultation.  When I first started practice in 1995, the average breast implant was in the 300 – 350 cc range.  Now I notice that the average breast implant chosen is in the 400 – 450 cc range.  Over the past 20 years there has been a change in the styles of implants.  Originally, a moderate style was the only style available.  Now there are moderate, moderate plus, high profile and anatomic or “gummy bear” implants.  In my practice, the moderate plus and high profile style implants have certainly become extremely popular as compared to the traditional moderate style implants.

One of the factors that I think plays into the breast implant volume has to do with fashion.  Certainly, fashion has changed over the past 20 years.  Looking through magazines or catalogs today, the models are usually slim, but large in the chest.  This is extremely common with swimsuit models.  It seems that the bigger implants are more poplar in magazines and fashion.  Therefore, women are choosing larger implants.

A second factor has to do with the numerous sizers that we have in the office, as well as the Vectra computer imaging system.  Using the Vectra system and computer analysis with simulation, patients can get an idea of exactly how they will look after the breast augmentation surgery with different sizes and different style implants.  The Vectra computer analysis combined with the ability to try on different sizers in the office, I think, leads the patient to a better understanding of the look she is trying to achieve, as well as the volume of implant that she will need in order to reach that goal.

Finally, as breast augmentations increased in popularity over the years, patients speak to their friends and advise them to go slightly larger, or express that they wished they had gone one size larger than they did.  There is no ideal size for a woman’s breasts, nor is there a perfect implant that will meet every patient’s goal.  A petite, thin, professional businesswoman may certainly choose a smaller implant, than a housewife who has had three children with deflation of breast volume and wants to re-establish a fuller, more youthful appearance.  The body frame of the patient certainly needs to be taken into account.  A patient who is slim and 5’ 3” tall certainly could choose a much smaller implant than a patient who is 5’ 8” with broad shoulders.

In addition to the fashion trends and unique physical characteristics of the patient, one needs to take into account their lifestyle and hobbies.  An individual who is very active, likes to exercise and be outdoors may not want to have an overly large implant because they could develop sequela from that with neck pain, back pain or shoulder discomfort.  My goal in a consultation is help the patient choose an implant that is appropriate for their body frame and meet the goals or expectations that they are trying to achieve.  The goal of surgery is to give women the size, shape and volume of breasts that will look good not just in the postoperative period, but also over their lifetime.  This may mean a smaller implant than the patient was thinking of, or could mean a larger implant than the patient was initially considering.  I do not want to create a disproportionate figure that could cause a problem later in life because of the size and weight of the breast implants.  Finally, my goal is to make the breast augmentation look good from an aesthetic viewpoint.  This can be more difficult with extremely large implants or extremely small implants.

In summary, there is no one implant that is ideal for all patients.  At the time of the consultation, we will review your outside activities, goals and expectations of surgery and try to find an appropriate implant to meet all of those goals with a low risk for complications.  The combination of physical exam, computer analysis and trying on different sizes of implants will help us assist the patient in choosing the most appropriate implant for their body frame.

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