Perspective on Cup Sizes?

I am 5'6" and 115. I was 32B and with 375 HP memory gel under the muscle a year ago. I am now a 32DD. My surgeon seemed surprised with my increase in cup size. I was hoping for a full C/D. I am delighted with my results even though they are a bit bigger than I thought I wanted. I know that we are supposed to talk about implants in CCs, but we women think in terms of cup sizes. Do surgeons typically think in terms of the cup sizes present on a 36 band? What is your perspective?

Doctor Answers 8

Bra size after breast surgery

I have three different sizes of bras in my lingerie drawer and they all fit.  I also have three different sizes of pants in my closet and they all fit!   I have a size 2 skirt in my closet that just makes me laugh because it is an egregious example of "vanity sizing."

This is a curse of womanhood in that our clothing sizes are not standardized.  When I shop for my husband or sons, I know what will fit but when I shop for my daughter, I don't even look at the size tag because the number on the tag means nothing. 

Also, at least according to Oprah (and she ought to know), 70% of women are in the wrong size of bra.  The most common mistake is to have a too large band size and a too small cup size.  For example, there are a lot of 34C's out there that should be 32D's.   This is what I call cup deflation.  This is why women think a D cup is so huge because many ladies in D cups are spilling out and should really be in a cup one or two sizes larger.

I always ask my patients what bra size they have in mind but always tell them that there is no guarantee that I will "hit it" on the nose because of the above factors.  Also, it doesn't matter what the label says on the bra.  If you like your breasts but not your bra size, cut the label out.

After breast surgery, weight loss or gain or a baby, women should get professionally measured by someone with granny glasses and gray hair, preferably at Nordstroms.  They are really, really good at getting a woman into a bra that fits and is flattering.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews


There is no way to guarantee a particular bra size. Bra sizing varies greatly between bra manufacturers and a C in one bra will be a D in another. What matters more than the assigned bra size is the way the implant looks on you. The best option for your body and aesthetic goals can be determined in a thorough implant sizing session.

Implant sizing depends on several factors. One of the most important factors is your breast width. Generally, your surgeon will measure your breast width, and then provide you with a range of implant sizes appropriate for your native breast size. There are more nuances to it than just what I've described, but this approach works for most women.

I usually have my patients bring in a large bra and a tight t-shirt to do sizing. I'll then choose 3-4 implants that I feel are appropriate, and have my patients place them in the bra under the tight t-shirt. My patients can then look in the mirror and get a good sense of what they will look like with the provided implant sizes. My patients like this approach and get a great idea of how they will look.

By using this technique, your surgeon can outline a range of appropriate implant sizes that will be aesthetically pleasing, and you make the final decision.

I hope this helps. Good luck!


Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Cup sizes, implant volume, and predictions.

Unfortunately, bra manufacturers do not use a standard cup measurement when labelling bras. A "C" cup from Victoria's Secret may be a "B" cup from Macy's. As plastic surgeons, we do discuss augmentations in terms of cup sizes, however the bottom line is that no one can promise a certain cup size because bras are so dissimilar. For this reason, many plastic surgeons will use sizing systems (bra inserts) in the office or even 3-D imaging software to give patients an idea of what they can expect following an augmentation with a certain size implant.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Its all about the cup size.

CC's are not the issue.  Cup size is and it can be achieved with volume and profile.  We have at least 4 profiles and perhaps  even 9 if you include the 5 CPG profiles and shapes.  Actually if we add the newly approved Sientra with their high, low, mod, enhance and nuance we have 14!   


See your board certified ASAPS member "real " plastic surgeon for the entire story. 

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

Implant and cup size

While we do think in terms of cup size, it is hard to correlate that with the specific volumes of implants, because the  manufacturers are all different and size their cups differently.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

How to relate Implant CC's to Cup Size of a Bra

Very good question. Unfortunately there is no standard cup size when it comes to a Bra, just like one stores size 4 is not the same as anothers, one bra lines C cup is not like anothers. This can lead to a very confused patient. I believe in allowing the patient to guide me by showing me pictures of other breasts that have been augmented, showing me what profile they would like while clothed using padded bras and letting the patient feel, hold and try on implant examples. There is not a perfect system, we also utilize imaging and while this tends to be relatively close, there are some discrepancies that occur and not all breast are suitable for imaging. Hope this helps

Jonathan Weiler, MD
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Cup sizes

As Dr Pousti wrote, cup size is not a great perspective. All B cup breasts or bras are not created equal! I see patients all the time who say that they are 34Bs when they have squeezed themselves into bras that are I'll-fitting and do not represent true breast size. This is why preop dialogue between physician and patient is so important to clarify expectations and goals.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Cup Sizes

Thank you for your question.

I like to communicate with patients with “goal” pictures.  During surgery, I use temporary sizers to determine the size/profile that will give the patient the look she is looking for. Trying to predict the size of the implant preoperatively is not ideal.  I think it is too much responsibility for the patient to choose the size of the implant.  Ideally, the surgeon would make that determination once he/she is in the operating room with sizers in and examining the patient in the upright and supine position.  There are many variables that come into play when choosing the correct implant size (how much breast tissue the patient currently has, the shape of the chest wall (concave vs. convex), etc..

It is difficult to talk "cup size" because for different patients a "C cup" can mean something totally different.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

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.