Is a 550cc Implant Too Small to Achieve C/D on a Larger Woman?

I'm having surgery on Monday and decided to go with a 550cc saline implant inserted under the muscle. I currently have an A/B and would like to have a full C/D. I'm 5'6 and I weigh 165, my shoulders and hips are "wider" than average so I'm expected to "hide" the implant more than a smaller woman.... I'm just worried my weight and frame might hide it too much.

Doctor Answers 7

Breast Implants in larger women

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Bra sizes are confusing. More often than not, a woman is not wearing a correctly fitted bra, doesn't know her bra size, or doesn't know how a bra is fitted.

Cup size is dependent on the "number" part of the bra size... a D cup in a 34 bra is a different size from a 42 bra.

Outward projection is further determined by the "profile" of the implant. High school geometry: Height (projection) times Width (base width). A Higher Profile implant will give you a larger cup size for less volume than a Moderate Profile implant.

Furthermore, a saline implant looks bigger than a silicone implant of the same volume. That is because a saline implant is more oval (round on both top and base), while a silicone implant is flat on the base.

Some plastic surgery books have proposed the following parameters for breast augmentation:

  • 32 bra: 100-200 ml per cup size
  • 34 bra: 150-250 ml per cup size
  • 36 bra: 200-300 ml per cup size
  • 38 bra: 250-350 ml per cup size

Using that as a guide line you should be able to get a rough estimate for the size implant you would need. 

Implant Selection Process

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Unfortunately, there is not a general rule of thumb or objective criteria to implant selection.

Your plastic surgeon will perform several measurements of your chest wall and breast anatomy and determine a range of implants that both fit your chest wall and reach your desired goals.

The next step is to try on this range of implants in the office with your doctor.   The key to this success is showing your surgeon the body proportion you desire with a bra sizer and allowing your surgeon to guide you to the right implant.   It will be much easier to communicate in implant cc's than cup size when determining the appropriate implant for you.

I wish you a safe recovery and fantastic result.

Dr. Gill

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon

Will this implant make me a size C/D cup?

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I would certainly try some sizers on and judge the appearance for yourself. It is difficult to predict any final cup size that will be achieved with an implant of given volume.

It is very easy to be confused by this measuring system. Cup sizes are only used as estimates for clothing. Although the measuring technique for determining cup size is precise, the results of these measurements are not. Let me give you an example; weight is a very accurate measurement. However two patients that weigh 120 lbs are not likely to look alike. The same is true with two patients that have C cup breasts. This is why physicians tend to use volume (cubic centimeters or cc) as a more accurate measurement. Note: If you are trying to figure out what breast implant size you want to obtain, you can try the szing tool available through or read the articles about measuring there.

Size is a complex decision that is not only based upon your height, weight and current cup/bra size but ALSO on also on your breast diameter, waist, shoulder, and skin envelope measurements. These can only be assessed in person during a consultation. A good place to start is using my "Find your perfect size" tool listed in the left hand column of my home page. Another good place to look is the searchable database section of the physicians' photos on Best of luck.

Please see our website for a description of the procedure: You can view some of Dr. Placik's patients or many other patients by visiting the website:photo gallery

Breast implants should be guided by measurements

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The most important guide in selecting the implant size are the measurements.  The width of the chest, the distance from the nipple the crease below the breast are both very important measurements as is the amount of skin/soft tissue laxity that will allow for "expansion" of the breast with the implant.  Simply selected size by a number is not a good way to go.  Not everyone, large or small, can "fit" a 550 envelope simply because their skin envelope is too "tight" and may not allow for such expansion at one time.  In all likelihood you'll be fine, however, another thing that can be helpful is for the surgeon to utilize a breast sizer so that at the time of surgery the most appropriate size implant is selected to reach your goals. That may be bigger or smaller than what you initially planned but the result, not the number is really what matters.  I hope this helps!


James F. Boynton, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Are 550cc implants too small?

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The choice of implant size should be done together with your board certified plastic surgeon based on your measurements, skin laxity/elasticity, volume of breast tissue to cover the implants and your desires. Your surgeon can explain what you can expect in the long run regarding the implant choice. You should not be worried going into surgery . You need to call your surgeon and see him/her again prior to surgery. You need to be satisfied and confident before going under the knife. Good luck.

Breast implant size decisions

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The proper choice of an implant is not made by the patient but by the patient and the surgeon working as a team to best achieve the goals you have and what your body will allow.  If you trust your doctor and trust that they have heard you and if they believe the size will be right, all you can do it go with it. 

Right implants

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It is hard to say what is best for you without an exam.  These are fairly large implants for the first time around. If you have some laxity or a particularly wide this may be just right.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.