Choosing Your Breast Implant Size

When planning to have breast augmentation, one of the most important decisions is choosing an implant size that best meets your overall goals. If a breast implant is too small for you to meet your desired size, you may not be happy with the outcome. On the other hand, if you choose implants that are too large, there will be an increased risk of complications like visible or palpable implants, chronic numbness, pain, or “synmastia” (no defined space between the breasts, but rather a raised bridge of skin). For these reasons, I recommend patients choose implants that fit their breast and body type. If a person has very small breasts and tight skin, it might not be recommended or possible to insert large implants, even if a certain final breast size is desired. On the other hand, if a person has larger breasts or looser skin (for example, after childbirth and breastfeeding), it is possible to insert much larger implants.

Interestingly, I have noticed a gradual trend for people to choose larger implants. The reasons are unclear but some possibilities include the influence of social media, friends who have had the procedure, the entertainment business, or changing societal norms. This desire for larger breast implants should be weighed against the risk of long-term complications or cosmetic problems like unsightly rippling.

Before the consultation:
Prior to having a consultation with your plastic surgeon, you can help narrow down your breast implant size by looking at before-and-after photos of women with breast implants or speaking to friends who have had the operation. Some people will also bring in wish pictures of models or celebrities with the desired shape. Although these photos give the surgeon some idea about your goals, it is important to compare surgical photos of women with a similar appearance as your breasts, who actually underwent breast implant surgery. This will give you a much better sense of the results that might be achieved with your body shape & type.

During the consultation with your Plastic Surgeon:
Although there is no perfect way to predict the exact cup size and shape of a person’s breasts after surgery, there are multiple ways to help finalize your implant selection. In our clinic we have a wide range of breast implant sizers, unpadded surgical bras and sizing T-shirts available so patients can actually get a sense of their breast shape by wearing the implants. Although this technique is not perfect, most patients find it very helpful in selecting their implants. We also have a Vectra 3D system that takes a photograph of the chest area, that can then be used to simulate the effect of inserting breast implants of different sizes.

Getting the top breast augmentation results by meeting with Dr. Andrade:
Last but definitely not least when selecting breast implants, your surgeon should be an important source of advice. They should do a full breast exam and take note of your breast measurements, skin tone, nipple position, tissue thickness, shape of your chest wall, asymmetry, any breast lumps, and other factors. I am surprised when some people come to my clinic for a second opinion and report that, after visiting other clinics, they did not actually have a proper assessment by the surgeon and were not given much advice about their implant choice. Although nurses and cosmetic coordinators are sources of advice and assistance, they are not a substitute for a surgeon’s knowledge and expertise. Meeting with the actual surgeon is an important part of the breast implant selection process.

How to use the breast implant profile to get the size you desire:
As an experienced cosmetic breast surgeon, Dr. Andrade can often help the patient achieve the size they want yet still ensure the implants fit their body type, by making recommendations about the implant profile. For example, if a very petite person wants larger implants, it might be possible to achieve their desired implant size by choosing extra full profile implants, since these implants have a narrow base. In general these implants are better suited to breasts with a narrower base width. On the other hand, if a woman with broad shoulders wants to have more cleavage but not an excessively projecting or “perky” breast, a moderate profile or low-plus profile implant might be a better option.

At our clinic we always encourage patients to come back for another appointment to try on sizers or review images if they are still unsure about their implant selection.

If you would like more information about selecting breast implants or wish to book a consultation, please contact the office at 905-898-2519.