How can I choose the right breast implant size which will be in proportion with the rest of my body?

I am researching different breast implant options and am unsure how to determine the implant size which will be proportional to my body type. I don't want to select an implant which is too small and barely visibly, but I don't want to go to far in the other direction. I am 5'10" , 177 pounds with a 34 inch ribcage. I currently have A cup breasts and would like to have D cups. What question should I ask during my consultation to determine the what implant size would be proportional for my body?

Doctor Answers 12

Breast augmentation

Hello and thank you for your question. The size of the implant is based on your desired breast size/shape, your chest wall measurements, and soft tissue quality.  This decision should be based on a detailed discussion with equal input from both you and your surgeon.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and evaluate their results.   The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

What size implants

This is a common question asked not only in forums, but also in the offices of cosmetic plastic surgeons. It seems to be a source of some angst for most women as they have tremendous concern for what the final outcome might be. I find that several things over the last 25 years have helped patients decide which type, shape, and projection ratios will best suit their needs. I think it's helpful if the patient brings in several photographs of what the goal look of her breasts might be. Also, if she can bring some photographs of what she doesn't want, this will eliminate trying to express in words what “natural”, “high cleavage”, “low cleavage”, “fake”, and “stripper” may mean to her. I have likewise found the Vectra 3-D imaging platform to be the single most helpful tool in trying to visualize what the outcome might be with different sizes as well as shapes of implants. The Mentor shell sizing system, in which a shell of implant material is placed over the breast and in a padless bra, can likewise be helpful in that it can, not only show the size in a bra, but can give the patient some idea as to what the weight of the implant might be. In my opinion, the implants will look best when the base width of the implant is at, or just slightly less, than a natural base width of her breast. Considerations of chest wall abnormalities, location of breast creases, shapes of the breast, amount of overlying breast tissue, stretch ability of the skin and breast over the implant, among other things also play a role in trying to decide which implant will look best on each individual patient. It can also be helpful if the plastic surgeon, during their consultation, can provide some insight into what the likely outcome would be with different sized implants given their experience in breast implant surgery over many years. We ask our patients to bring different types of clothing such as evening gowns and bathing suits as well as a tight shirt to evaluate what the implant might look like under these type of clothing options. It is also possible to make a home made breast sizer using grain rice. Approximately 1 ounce of rice equals 30 mL of breast implants volume. The rice can be placed into a pantyhose leg and enough volume left in the pantyhose such that the rice can be flattened out. You can then tie off the pantyhose and cut off the excess. This flattened rice volume pantyhose can be added on top of the breast inside of a padless bra and can give a rough approximation of what the corresponding implant might look like. Besides the size, most plastic surgical consultations for breast augmentation will also deal with the shape of implants, whether round or anatomically shaped. Here I think the Vectra really shines in that you can place two images next to each other, one with the shaped implant and one with a round implant such that the potential breast implant patient can really see what the difference would look like on them. All things considered, this can be a fun process and the vast majority of patients in my practice are quite happy with their end result. Hope your surgery goes well and good luck.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Implant choice

Choosing the right implant for you requires an exam in person. Best of luck with your decision to move forward.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Choosing the Implant size that is right for you.

Thank you for your question!

Please know that it is a common misconception that implant size correlates with the bra cup size. A bra-cup size itself requires many measurements to describe it.

Bra sizes vary among manufacturers, and they can label the cup size by any designation they choose. So a C will be a D for another. Additional factors, such as demi and full cup coverage, specific fabrics, padding, and elastics, can all affect the fit of a bra.

If we consider all things being equal – i.e., you get a bra from the same manufacturer and of the same style, - then I think you might find it helpful to know that a study by Dr. Bengtson and Dr. Glicksman titled “Standardization of Bra Cup Measurements” has shown that the average implant volume required to increase the cup-size by 1 size is equal to 205 ccs. However, it is also important to considering the profile as even a small implant with a high profile can increase can sizes by the same amount.

Now, it may be helpful to do bra-sizing trials with the bra of your choice when you go in for a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Now, although you give importance to cup size designation, what should matter most is that the implant looks good aesthetically and that the chosen bra fits and feels comfortable.

If you visit a board-certified plastic surgeon, they will assist you in choosing an implant that is more tailored to your breast characteristics in order to provide natural looking breasts.

The implant has to fit YOUR body dimensions. The more you deviate from the proper fit, the more fake your breasts will look.

Surgeons use what is called tissue-based planning. The planning takes into account the effects of implants on tissues over time, risks of excessive stretch, excessive thinning, visible or palpable implant edges, visible traction rippling, ptosis (Sagging), and breast tissue wasting.

To determine the implant size, breast measurements must be made: 1) Base Width of the existing breast tissue, 2) breast skin stretch, and 3) Nipple-to-Inframammary Fold distance. The combination of these measurements will help determine tissue coverage and the required implant volume to optimally fill the breasts.

So please focus more on having full and natural looking breasts rather than trying to fit into a particular bra-cup size.  

Make sure to choose a surgeon you can trust. Your surgeon should be someone who does not rush you, and someone who does not agree to everything you say because safety should be the first thing on their mind. Clearly, you wouldn’t know what is best for you, so they should guide to make decisions that will minimize complications and allow you to have beautiful breasts in the long-term.

Verify their skills, education, and certification. Ask about your surgeon’s experience about the procedure you want and ask to review photographic examples of your surgeon’s work. Check to see if the aesthetic ideal is consistent with what you are hoping to achieve. Make sure the before and after images have the same perspective, the same lighting.  Read the surgeon’s reviews for the procedure you want

Please book an in-person consultation with a board-certified surgeon and make sure to fully and comprehensively share your desires, expectations, and concerns.

Hope this helps

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 415 reviews

Choosing implant

You don't/shouldn't choose your implant, your surgeon should. You should choose the "look/proportion" you wish to achieve and the surgeon will select the best implant based on dimensions, not just volume. I and many others use photos to communicate patient goals in breast augmentation. After all, you will judge your satisfaction by how they "look" on you, not by the label on the bra or the label on the implant card.

Robert H. Hunsaker, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

How can I choose the right breast implant size which will be in proportion with the rest of my body?

Remember that there is no direct correlation between implant size (cc's) and cup size. Best option is to choose a board certified plastic surgeon who actually takes the time to measure you and examine your breast pocket. Sizers will only give you a rough estimate. The goal of breast augmentation is to optimally fill your breast pocket, not to overstuff or understuff it. At my practice, we utilize a series of 5 breast measurements that help me determine the ideal implant size, which in turn helps me deliver a 24 hour recovery. Do your research and choose a surgeon who takes the time to sit down with you and discuss your goals/expectations to determine the best size for you. Good luck!!

How can I choose the right breast implant size which will be in proportion with the rest of my body?

Thank you for the question. There is no accurate/reliable/predictable correlation between size/profile breast implant utilized and cup size achieved. 

Ultimately, careful communication of your goals (in my practice I prefer the use of goal pictures, direct examination/communication in front of a full-length mirror, and computer imaging) will be critical. 

Generally speaking, the best online advice I can give to ladies who are considering  breast augmentation surgery ( regarding breast implant size/profile selection) is:

1. Concentrate on choosing your plastic surgeon carefully.  Concentrate on appropriate training, certification, and the ability of the plastic surgeon to achieve the results you are looking for. Ask to see lots of examples of his/her work.

2. Have a full discussion and communication regarding your desired goals  with your plastic surgeon. This communication will be critical in determining  breast implant size/type/profile will most likely help achieve your goals.  In my practice, the use of photographs of “goal” pictures (and breasts that are too big or too small) is very helpful. For example, I have found that the use of words such as  “too small” or "D cup” etc means different things to different people and therefore prove unhelpful.  Also, as you know, cup size varies depending on him who makes the bra; therefore, discussing desired cup  size may also be inaccurate.  Again, the use of computer imaging has been very helpful during the communication process, in our practice.

3.  Once you feel you have communicated your goals clearly,  allow your plastic surgeon to use his/her years of experience/judgment to choose the breast implant size/profile that will best meet your goals.  Again, in my practice, this decision is usually made during surgery,  after the use of temporary intraoperative sizers. I hope this (and the attached link, dedicated to breast  augmentation surgery concerns) helps. Best wishes. 

Breast Implants/Breast Augmentation/Anatomic Gummy Bear Implants/ Silicone Implants/Breast Implant Revision Surgery

I appreciate your question. The size of implant best for you is dictated by your chest wall measurements.  Once we determine that we can choose the profile based on what you want or need to achieve.  If you are seeking a natural look, then the diameter of the implant should be equal to or, more ideally, smaller than the width of your breast. The breast width is a measurement of how wide your breast is at the base, which should be measured at the level of the nipple. Choosing an implant that is smaller in diameter than your breast width will avoid the "side breast" fullness that is often associated with a more artificial appearance.  Other than that, you should choose the implant based on volume, not on the dimensions of the implant. You should choose a board certified plastic surgeon that you trust to help guide you in this decision.   Silicone will give you a fullness at the top (upper pole fullness). Silicone implants come pre-filled with a silicone gel and are the softest implant available. They feel more natural, which makes them a good option for women with less natural breast tissue; but they require a larger incision. It may be more difficult to realize if this type of implant has ruptured, so it is important to monitor them with annual follow-up visits. Additionally, because this implant contains a more liquid silicone (less cross-linked), if this implant should rupture, it will leak only into the scar capsule formed around the implant but may cause some discomfort or implant distortion. Anatomic gummy bear implants might be a good choice to give you volume. These highly-sought-after, anatomic implants offer a look that more closely resembles the natural silhouette of a breast, and, therefore, are a very attractive option for individuals seeking a natural-looking, aesthetic primary breast augmentation. Additionally, these implants are an especially excellent option for patients undergoing restorative or corrective breast surgery because they provide more stability, shape, and reduced incidence of capsular contracture. Compared to other types of silicone gel implants, the silicone in the cohesive gel implant is more cross-linked; therefore, should the implant shell “rupture,” it maintains its shape and silicone does not leak. During your breast augmentation consultation, you should feel the different types of implants available, and try on various implant sizers in front of a mirror to help you to get an idea of how you will look following the surgery. You should also bring pictures of the look you would like to achieve, as well as a favorite top to wear when trying on implant sizers. The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam. Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative breast surgery. Best of luck! Dr. Schwartz Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Director-Beverly Hills Breast and Body Institute #RealSelf100Surgeon #RealSelfCORESurgeon


I would recommend meeting with a board certified plastic surgeon and discussing all your concerns.. You will be examined and measured to see what range of implants best suite your frame and tissue. Also, you can try on a variety of sizes to see what you prefer. Your surgeon will help guide you to the best size.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

How do I determine implant size prep?

There are two schools of thought on this among plastic surgeons. Some believe that the surgeon should take careful measurements of the breasts, ribcage, and breastbone, then convert these to an implant size that is proportional. I call this "old school". It is accurate to a point, but ignores the patient's sense of proportion. I have noticed over more than 20 years that women already know what looks good on them. How? Clothing. Women have been critically analyzing the fit of their clothing for most of their lives. Unlike most men, they have learned this by listening to Mom, friends, trial and error, and their own sense of style. as soon as i acknowledged this in my patients and used their input in implant size and shape selection, my patient satisfaction feedback skyrocketed. Ever see a dress on the rack that looked great until you tried it on? Pre-filled implants of every shape and size are shown to my patients at consult. Based on my measurement of them and their sense of style and proportion, we work together by placing the implants in their bra with clothing on. We look in the full length mirror at her entire form, not just her bustling, so we can both gain a sense of proportion. cup size is discussed only to gently dismiss it. It is not consistent in the bra industry. the number of cc's or ml's which seem to do the trick and the shape, however, are important. Every woman can figure out what is too big and what is too small. What we are left wither the ones in between which the patient and I can further narrow down. In 28 years I have never once seen this fail. the key? we both give our opinions, listen to each other, and decide together. Want to do some homework? Try my "rice trick". Two ziplock sandwich bags, a box of rice, and a measuring cup which has cc's or ml's on the side you don't often look at. pour an amount of rice into the cup that looks reasonable, remember the volume in cc's then pour the rice into the ziplock. take the air out, seal it, and put it into your bra. You might try a different volume on the other side. Now put on a nice outfit or swimsuit. look in the mirror and add volume or subtract. Have fun and believe in your inborn sense of proportion, style, and, most important, what you want! I apologize for my long-windedness but this was an important question and I don't do sound bites.

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.