Sientra 12.5 - 13cm for 10.5 BWD, Is it "safe" to be excessively over BWD, or is this too much?

I have a BWD of 10.5 (I do have some breast tissue; I can make myself fit a 32c to a 32dd (28 rib, 34 bust)) PS is favoring a mod plus with an implant diameter of 12.5-13.2cm (I favored 400cc sizers). Even a HP sientra is almost 12.5cm. I see a lot of PS' say remain within 1-2cm or stay smaller....I'm afraid that I'm expecting to much...

Doctor Answers 8

Safe to Exceed BWD?

First it is important to understand that the BWD is somewhat subjective, so one surgeon might measure you at 10.5 and another at 11.0 or 11.5. It is not a completely standardized measurement. Also, most surgeons look at base width as a guideline but not necessarily a firm limit. An example would be a patient with an overly narrow or constricted breast. In this situation it would not be at all unusual to exceed the measured BWD because the goal is actually to create a wider breast that is more proportionate to the patients chest wall. So there is room for variation from that particular measurement.

It is also important to recognize that surgeons pay attention to that number for a reason. If the width of your implant significantly exceeds the measured BWD you will be at risk for excessive lateral fullness (sideboob), malposition, thinned tissues, visible rippling, synmastia, and the list goes on. So completely ignoring the number is not a good idea either. If you liked the sizer of 400 cc then it may make sense to go with a higher profile implant which will have a narrower base width. Alternatively you could perhaps go with a somewhat smaller implant with a smaller base width (sometimes you can't get exactly what you want without creating problems). A thoughtful, thorough surgeon will sit down with you and review the various options, discuss the risks and benefits of each, and work towards a solution that both of you hopefully feel comfortable with. If you aren't getting this then consider consulting with another surgeon. 

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



The right size for you

It is very difficult to determine the best lift you will need (recommended based on your photos) or 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 300 cc implant to make her go from a “A” cup to a “C” cup size does not mean that you will have the same result with the same size implant. The same process goes for just filling in the upper part of your breast without becoming much larger. 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 link below including silicone vs saline implants

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Implant size

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.  This entire surgery can be performed with a small incision technique.  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.

Best wishes and good luck.

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

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Implant size and breast diameter

Thank you for your question. I prefer to go with breast diameter and implant size. But this is your and your plastic surgeon choice. Best of luck

Base width

I prefer to stay closer to the base width when selecting an implant size. Best of luck with your decision to move forward.

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

Base width of breast

Generally, I like to use an implant within a 1cm measurement from your base diameter.  But there are exceptions. There are even "ultra high" profile implants that we sometimes use.  Best to see an experienced plastic surgeon  to discuss the pro's and con's of each.

Dean Fardo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Breast Implants and Band Width Concerns?

Thank you for the question.  There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to diameter of breast implant versus diameter of breast (band width). In other words, these measurements are useful but are only one of the many factors come into play when it comes to selection of appropriate breast implant size/profile.

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, in bra sizers, and computer imaging) as well as careful measurements (dimensional planning) will be critical.

***Given that your surgery is coming up soon, I would suggest that you spend additional time communicating your goals/concerns directly with your plastic surgeon, preferably prior to the date of surgery.

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 know words such as “natural” or "C 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/video, dedicated to breast augmentation surgery concerns) helps. Best wishes for an outcome that you will be very pleased with. 

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.