How accurate is the rice test?

My surgery is less than 6 days away. After 4 pregnancies and breast feeding them all I've opted for the 400 cc moderate plus silicone. I'm a 34A now. Hoping for a C. No bigger. With my athletic body type. I'm 5"8 138 lbs. I was getting cold feet tonight as I look through the pictures on here of women with 400cc. All look bigger than my goal. So I did the rice test. Tried them on and see minimal difference between 375-400. I'm wondering how accurate is this test? Does it run bigger or smaller.

Doctor Answers 9

How to Determine the Right Breast Implant Size

The ideal implant size is not just based on cc's of volume, but the shape of the implant and the base  diameter of the implant. For this reason, the rice test is not effective. Biodimensional planning techniques can be used by your plastic surgeon to find the ideal size and shape of breast implant for you.

With the right breast impalnts and a skilled surgeon, your results can look very natural. Look at many, many before and after images to be sure you and your plastic surgeon share the same aesthetic sensibilities.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews


Thank you for the question.

This test is not accurate and if you base on this, your results would not be as you expect. Try talking to your surgeon to use other methods to determine the size.

Dr. Campos

Jaime Campos Leon, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 252 reviews

The Rice Test for Breast Implant Sizing

The Rice test for breast implant sizing is an old fashion method for determining the patient's desired volume of breast implants.  When I trained in Manhattan, I frequently used this method in my cosmetic clinic patients.  I found it to be a very useful tool, as it allows the plastic surgeon to realize the patients desires regarding breast volume.  There are numerous sizing methods and devices, but the volume that a patient wants has to be gauged somehow.  

Using bra cup sizes is inadequate, because different manufacturers have different volumes associated with each cup size.  A "C" cup with one brand bra does not have the same volume as a "C" cup in another brand.  There is no uniform bra cup swing with bras.

By using the rice test (or other sizing techniques) the plastic surgeon can understand the volume his or her patient wants.  In the end, the style implant should be picked based on this information and the patient's chest and breast geometry.

To put things in perspective, 25-35 cc is the size of a shot glass.  This is a relatively insignificant difference in volume.  Seek consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss further implant sizing questions. 

Joshua Lampert, MD,FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Rice test is only and approximation of breast implant size

Thank you for your question.  The Rice test in breast implant sizing systems are only and approximation.

Understand that the difference between a 375 cc and 400 cc is about a tablespoon and not very significant and often not visible.

If you feel too large to 400 cc then consider removing down to 350 cc which is a very nice sized implant but not as significant as a 400 cc

The shape of the implant is more important than just size!

The problem is that moderate plus implants will look muck bigger than 400mL of rice because it is packed together in a narrow and projecting shape.  I would recommend avoiding the moderate plus implants!

Rian A. Maercks, MD
Miami Physician
4.9 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Rice Test

The rice method is one that people use to estimate cup size.  No method is exact.  
Every physician has their own method to determine cup size.  The best thing to do is to consult your plastic surgeon, as he has evaluated you and can give you the best advice.
Good Luck.

Brian C. Reuben, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Rice test to determine size?

My patients are all very happy with their experience.  But realize this only gives you an idea of what will work on you and confirming this with external sizers helps confirm what you saw with your rice.  I don't understand why so many do not employ such a simple 'test' that you can do at home yourself.  I prefer to use rice in a nylon knee hi stocking to minimize volume changes from the many ways people use this test.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Rice test

None of these "tests" are accurate.i generally will make the pocket and see what size impalnt is best for your frame and body size.I try to make my patients as big as I can but so the look NATURAL and not overstuffed.At the end of the procedure you have to be able to close the incision.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

How accurate is the rice test?

Although useful as rough guidelines and as communication tools, all the modalities currently used to predict what breast implant size/profile will best achieve a patient's goals with breast augmentation are not very accurate, in my opinion. The use of the rice test, sizers placed beneath a patient's bra, goal pictures, computer imaging technology… are all useful, but not necessarily as accurate as one would hope.
In my opinion, nothing will replace careful verbal preoperative communication with your plastic surgeon, preferably in front of a full-length mirror along with the use of as many "communication" tools” listed above.
In my practice, I use all of the above modalities and then use intraoperative temporary sizers to help determine the best breast implant size/profile to achieve a patient's specific goals as closely as possible. For this reason, I think it is helpful to have the entire range of breast implant  sizes/profiles available in the operating room.
Achieving realistic expectations prior to proceeding to the operating room is also an important part of the preoperative communication process. Patients should be aware that the results of their breast augmentation will not necessarily match exactly what they are visualizing with anyone of the above-mentioned communication tools.
Given your questions and concerns, and given that your surgery is coming up soon, I would suggest that you schedule additional time to spend with your plastic surgeon. This additional time spent will be helpful in the communication process and in alleviating some of your anxiety.
Best wishes; hopefully you will be very pleased with the outcome of the planned procedure.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 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.