Breast Implant Size and Placement for Slim, Sporty Woman?

I am a 34 AA, slim, 42-year-old who is very sporty. My ribcage under my breast is 30 inches. I am having breast implants and don't want to have large breasts, just some! Under the muscle my surgeon says, but sizing, he recommends 200 cc. I am thinking maybe 175 cc or is that pathetic? Also, I have been told you can lose 10% by going under the muscle? What would you advise for me?


Doctor Answers 20

Implant Sizing


Thank you for your question. Because you are petite, 200cc may get you to roughly a B cup, but keep in mind that there is no standardization for sizing bras. Your bra size will likely vary between manufacturers. My patients find it helpful to try on their sizers in form fitting clothing so that they can get a feel for the result and choose what they like on them rather than basing their choice on a projected cup size. Breast Implants often do seem a little smaller once settled in, placed under the muscle, however I advise my patients to estimate closer to 20cc. This is an estimate only as each person experiences this differently.

Talk to your Plastic Surgeon about your concern and perhaps ask if you can try the implant sizers on, or create your own "rice sizers" at home.

All the best

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews


First of all the 25cc difference that you are debating is less than a shot glass or 2 tablespoons. It is very difficult to determine the exact size and shape implant you will require to best match your ideal breast image without an examination by a board certified plastic surgeon. Not just any board certified plastic surgeon, but one with many years of frequently performing breast augmentation surgery including different approaches, techniques and implant choices. This is because several measurements not to mention your breast characteristics are needed to determine the optimal implant size to obtain your goals. Without knowing these dimensions it would be difficult to make this determination. For example, the existing base width of your breast will determine, in many cases, the maximal volume per implant profile that you can accommodate. To illustrate; a 100 cc difference may make a significant difference with a narrow base width breast, but much less of a difference if you have a wide chest wall and wide breast “foot print”. Therefore, just because your friend may have a great result with let’s say a 200 cc implant to make her go from a “A” cup to a “B” cup size does not mean that you will have the same result with the same size implant. . Further simply placing implants in a bra to determine the size best for you is not always accurate as the bra often distorts the size, is dependent on the pressure the bra places plus the implant is outside your breast and not under it among other variables. Computer software morphing programs that automatically determine the best implant size can be helpful in some but not all cases (e.g. doesn’t work well in my experience with existing implants, sagging or asymmetric breasts). Using “want to be” photos however are useful if simply provided to the surgeon as I will further explain in the following link.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

Implant Sizing in Petite Woman

Unfortunately, there is not a general rule of thumb or objective criteria to implant selection other than in office exam and good communication with your surgeon.
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
4.8 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

200-250 cc breast implants are the smallest breast implants I would use on sporty slim woman

Almost all women who have had breast implants wish at one year that they had gone larger (at least in states other than California, where very large implants are the rule).

In my experience, a 175 cc implant is hardly noticeable. 200 cc is a good choice, but 250 cc would also give you a very nice result.

Always follow the advice of the surgeon you have chosen. If you don't feel comfortable with the advice, see another board certified plastic surgeon.

Breast implant placement for a sporty woman

Dear Katie

This is a double edged sword. I would recommend going under the muscle with silicone implants. I think you are too thin for over unless you are a professional athelete. and the small amount of muscle would hinder your performance.

As far as size goes you need to take several things into consideration - amount of breast tissue and skin, skin laxity, base diameter of the breast any drooping, etc. All these factors may affect what size implant to use. Also knowing your height and weight would help.

I do think you are a good candidate and your surgeon and you are being realistic with sizing. I use measurements, Portrait 3-D imaging and pictures to discuss with patients pre-op and still rely on sizers or test implants during surgery to get it right. Sometimes a 225 cc implant although slightly big initially will give you the best long term result.

Talk to your surgeon and try not to bind his hands within reason as far as size goes but show him the look you want to achieve. Good luck with your surgery.

Steven Schuster, MD, FACS
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Breast implant sizing for petite women

The best way to arrive at the proper size for you is usually a combination of "tissue based planning"  where your breast width, thickness and nipple to breast fold on stretch are accurately measured, and then a sizing system such as the mentor sizing system that allows you to try on the range of implants that would work for your tissues and see what you like the best.  Some women want to go larger than their tissues will allow and once they understand the tradeoffs will chose a smaller implant that will not overly stretch or damage their tissues.  But I also have women that are so fearful of looking unnatural that they initially pick an implant that is too small and later regret their choice.  Having said that, it would be extremely rare in my practice of very conservative profesional women in new england to use an implant as small as a 200 cc.  A 225 or 250 would be a more typical choice for someone with your frame. There is a video on breast implant sizing that you might find helpful

Jonathan Hall, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

3D Vectra Imaging Very Helpful

One of the most important decisions facing breast augmentation patients is the size of breast implants that will be used.Most patients are striving for harmony, balance and proportion with the surrounding anatomic structures.Typically, they want a natural look with some fullness in the upper breast areas.

The patient consultation is the starting point for their decision and every effort should be made to have good communication.Most patients tend to speak in terms of cup size.Unfortunately, cup size isn’t always helpful because manufacturers of bras label their bras differently and women don’t always wear their bras the same way.In other words, some women wear their bras snuggly while others wear them loosely.This creates communication problems when talking cup size.

In an effort to determine breast size in a more objective manner, we utilize external silicone sizers and a 3D Vectra Computer Imaging System.External silicone sizers are designed to sit on top of the patient’s breast.They can be held against the patient’s chest or placed inside the patient’s bra.This technique helps the patient visualize what their breasts will look like with a specific-sized implant.This will also give them a sense of the volume that will sit on their chest wall and how it feels.

The 3D Vectra Computer Imaging System is a relatively new technology that we have found to be extremely helpful for determining breast implant size.This system allows the patient to visualize different sized implants on their actual body.Patient’s find this to be extremely helpful.

The ability to visualize your projected surgical result alleviates much of the anxiety associated with this procedure.I feel that both the use of external silicone sizers and the use of the 3D Vectra Computer Imaging System accomplish this goal.It’s important to remember that final adjustments in the size of breast implants will ultimately be made in the operating room, depending upon anatomic factors.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Breast implant size and placement for slim, sporty woman?

Hello! Thank you for your question. In general, implant size does not correlate with bra cup size. The cup size itself will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as who is doing the actual measurements. Thus, cup size is never a reliable indicator for your breast size. I typically encourage my patients not to communicate her desires in cup size but more on the actual look and appearance. Given your desires, a breast augmentation, with an implant or fat grafting, would be an ideal procedure that would meet your expectations. Breast augmentation is now the most popular procedure performed in plastic surgery today. One tolerated very well by women with minimal downtime and high patient satisfaction.

Good communication between you and your surgeon of your expectations is warranted - choosing your surgeon wisely is the first step. Discussion of your wishes and having an honest and open dialog of your procedure is mandatory (e.g, implant type, incision, placement, etc). Your height, weight, breast width, and body habitus will make a difference for which implant style/projection to choose. Implant profile will also make a difference on the projection, which will influence overall breast/cup size. I have found that photographs brought by the patient is helpful to get a visualization of the appearance you wish for in terms of size, shape, fullness, etc. In addition, your surgeon's pre and postoperative photographs should demonstrate a realistic goal for you of results. Sizers are helpful during an in-office consultation. Once this has been accomplished, allow your surgeon to utilize his/her best medical judgment during the procedure to finesse the best possible result for you after preoperative biodimensional planning and fitting the right implant for your breast width. This is the most important determinant for the sizing of implants, which will provide the optimal result and most aesthetically-pleasing result for you.

Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon well-versed in breast procedures who will examine and discuss with you the various options and factors to consider and help you decide which one will be the right one for you. Hope me that this helps! Best wishes for a wonderful result!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Breast implant size

To have a natural look, implant size and placement is very important. If you want a little breast volume and a natural look, I would recommend a subpectoral placement of a moderate profile implant. Implant size 250 to 280cc. You being very slender and sporty would make this approach and placement ideal. A full evaluation and discussion with your surgeon would be necessary in making the final decision.

Chester K. Cheng, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

What size breast implant is right for me?

This is a very common question in my office and on Breast implant sizing is a little bit of an art, but a lot of it is truly based on measurements. You need the base width of the breast tissue, medial and lateral pinch measurements, upper pole thickness. These are all very very important in making the final decision regarding size. At that point, you will have a few options within a size range. If you are asking us the difference specifically between a 175 and a 200cc implant, that is difficult to answer. It is a subtle difference and only you and your surgeon together and figure out which might be better. Having said that, women who are unhappy after breast augmentation are usually unhappy because they chose an implant size that was too small. Keep that in mind.

In terms of location, someone with thin skin and minimal breast tissue (maybe this describes you given the picture) will benefit from placement under the muscle. However, if you are "sporty" and tend to lift weights, your implants will clearly show when you work out since the pectoralis muscle contraction will push the implants out to the side. You really need to weigh the pros and cons of this with your surgeon and pick a location. If you don't mind the motion while lifting weights, then under the muscle will likely look more natural for you. Good luck.

Sirish Maddali, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
2.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.