Do Surgeon's Refer to the Cc's As What They Filled or the Physical Implant Size?

For example, if you posted a picture of a patient with an implant size that reads 300 cc's, is that the actual size of the implant or what was filled into the implant? I'm scheduled to get a 250 cc Mentor Moderate Plus saline implant filled to 300. I'm trying to look at pictures online, but am not sure if I should look at augmentations labeled 250cc's or 300 cc's.

Doctor Answers 9

Breast implant sizing

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Thank you for the question. Generally the number listed is a final fill volume of the implant. Some general words of advice regarding breast implant sizing follow. Much of the final “look” achieved after breast augmentation surgery  depends on several factors:

1. The initial shape, size (volume of breast tissue), symmetry of the patient's breasts. In general, the better the  preoperative breast appearance the more likely the breast augmentation “look” will be optimal.

2. The experience/skill level of the surgeon is important in determining the final outcome. For example, the accurate and gentle dissection of the breast implant pockets are critical in producing  long-term  well-placed breast implants. I personally think that these 2 factors are more important than any others, including type (saline or silicone)  or model (low/moderate/high profile)  of implant.

3. The type of implant used may  determine the final outcome, especially if the patient does not have significant covering breast or adipose tissue. For example, some surgeons feel that silicone implants have a more natural look and feel than saline implants because silicone gel has a texture that is similar to breast tissue. Each patient differs in the amount of breast tissue that they have.  If a patient has enough breast tissue to cover the implant, the final result will be similar when comparing saline implants versus silicone gel implants.  If a patient has very low body fat and/or very little breast tissue, the silicone gel implants may provide a more "natural" result.
On the other hand, saline implants have some advantages over silicone implants. Silicone implant ruptures are harder to detect. When saline implants rupture, they deflate and the results are seen almost immediately. When silicone implants rupture, the breast often looks and feels the same because the silicone gel may leak into surrounding areas of the breast without a visible difference.  Patients may need an MRI to diagnose a silicone gel rupture.   Saline implants are also less expensive than the silicone gel implants.
Other differences involve how the breast implants are filled. Saline implants are filled after they’re implanted, so saline implants require a smaller incision than prefilled silicone breast implants.
On May 10, 2000, the FDA granted approval of saline-filled breast implants manufactured by Mentor Corporation and McGhan Medical. To date, all other manufacturers’ saline-filled breast implants are considered investigational.
As of 2006, the FDA has approved the use of silicone gel implants manufactured by the Mentor Corporation and Allergan (formerly McGhan) for breast augmentation surgery for patients over the age of 22.

4. The size and model of breast implant used may  make a  significant difference in the final outcome. Therefore, it is very important to communicate your size goals with your surgeon.  In my practice, the use of photographs of “goal” pictures (and breasts that are too big or too small) is very helpful. I have found that the use of words such as “natural” or “C cup” or "fake looking" or "top heavy" means different things to different people and therefore prove unhelpful.
Also, as you know, cup size varies depending on who makes the bra; therefore, discussing desired cup  size may also be inaccurate.
I use  intraoperative sizers and place the patient in the upright position to evaluate breast size. Use of these sizers also allow me to select the breast implant profile (low, moderate, moderate plus, high-profile) that would most likely achieve the patient's goals. The patient's goal pictures are hanging on the wall, and allow for direct comparison.
I have found that this system is very helpful in improving the chances of achieving the patient's goals as consistently as possible.
By the way, the most common regret after this operation, is “I wish I was bigger”.

I hope this helps.

Picking the right Breast implant size is difficult

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One of the most difficult aspects of breast augmentation is picking the right size. Looking a pictures is a good place to start. It's hard to tell with saline implants what the are referring to ie actual or final implant size. The good thing is that the difference is not huge so you are getting a good ball park. Gel implants are different and the size reported is the final size

Don't Obsess with Implant Size

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I agree that you should not rely on photos posted on web sites to determine the implant which is appropriate for you.  I post the final implant volume but I do not think there is a standard for the postings.  There is not a great deal of difference, however, in an implant filled with 350cc compared to one with 375cc.  I feel that you should try on implants with your plastic surgeon's input to determine your appropriate size.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

# of CCs in a photo means the final fill volume.

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In the photos, if they say it is a 300cc, that typically means the final fill is 300cc.  There is a minimum and maximum fill level as you have described. 

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

What do cc's mean?

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When we talk about the size of the implant we refer to the final fill volume of the implant.

I do not recommend making your decisions based on online photos alone, as they may not be accurate. Your surgeon should size you by taking accurate measurements of your chest and breasts and deciding with you what the appropriate size is to achieve your goals.

Best of luck

Dana Khuthaila, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Implant volume

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I can not answer for others, but I know that when I talk to patients about an implant volume it is final implant volume.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Do Surgeon's Refer to the Cc's As What They Filled or the Physical Implant Size?

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It means the final fill volume in photos. Seek many photos at the exact fill volume to compare the results. From MIAMI Dr. Darryl J. Blinski

Understanding implant volume

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First, don't rely on pictures to help decide your implant size. In terms of volume, silicone implants are prefilled so the size in cc's is what is stated; saline implants have a nominal size that is the minimum fill, and a fill volume which is how much is put in.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Photos and breast size

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It is futile and a misconception to look at photos to equate implant size to surgical results. An implant does not produce a certain look. It is the implant plus each patient's individual anatomy. Because there is so much variation between patients, you have to individualize choice of implants.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

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.