Why do same size implants look bigger on some women than other women?

Hi - I'm doing my research. Quick question. Most ladies post the implant size used for their augmentation (425CCs, 450CCs, etc., as well a profile, under the muscle, etc. Why do the exact same size implants and profile, under the muscle for example, look bigger on some ladies rather than others who had the same size, profile, placement, etc.? Right when I think I have it figured out, I see someone and think "wow, those are huge! I can't pull that off!"

Doctor Answers 23

Why do implants look different on different women

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This is a great question.  The size of breast implants is only one piece of the puzzle in creating ideal results for breast augmentation. The shape of the implants and even more importantly, the creation of the pocket and the placement of the implants. 
I learned recently that some people were using some information included with before and after images as "recipes" When women did not achieve the same result they saw in the photo, they shared the concerns with our office. We have since removed some details from the website for that reason.
A very well trained and experienced plastic surgeon will share many many before and after images with you, including photos that look like you now, with results that look like the results you'd like to achieve. The plastic surgeon will discuss your goals and provide very specific measurements to help you achieve your goal.

Look for many, many before and after photos and carefully check the credentials of your plastic surgeon.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Why do #breastimplants look differently on different bodies?

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Thank you for sharing your excellent question about why breast implants look different on some patients versus others.  There are numerous factors to consider including age, height, weight, breastfeeding experience, thickness of skin, bone structure, tissue laxity, etc. The numerous factors make an in person consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon (by the American Board of Plastic Surgery) important.  Communication between patients and surgeons is extremely important and many patients enjoy either having a 3-D imaging session or an implant sizer session to get an idea of what the implant may look like.  I hope this is helpful and wish you all the best.
Brian S. Coan, MD, FACS

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Why do same size implants look bigger on some women than other women?

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Thank you for the question. Your observations are right on the mark:  the same breast implant size/profile can achieve a very different outcome for different patients. Factors involved include a specific patient's starting anatomy, including bone structure ( for example concave versus convex chest wall),  the amount of breast tissue present, the laxity of the overlying tissues, overall body type/proportions of the patient,  the size/position of the breast implant "pocket" dissected etc. In other words, there are many variables besides breast implant size/profile that determine the final breast look achieved. 

Generally speaking, the best online advice I can give to ladies who are considering breast augmentation surgery (regarding breast implant type/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. In bra sizers can be useful communication tools also. I have found that the use of words such as “natural” or "C or D cup" or "huge" etc 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. The use of computer imaging may be very helpful during the communication process.
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.

The right size for you

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It is very difficult to determine 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 350 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. . 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 below link.


Why do same size implants look bigger on some women than other women?

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Thank you for your question and using RealSelf. The same size implant will look larger in a smaller person than a large person. Also, keep in mind that the final breast size is your present breast size plus the implants. Some women already have a fair amount of breast tissue, and they will look larger than someone with very little breast tissue even using the same size implants.

My suggestion to you is to find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and have him place "sizers" on you in a bra with no padding. Plastic surgeons should have a supply of these. Also with the various sized "sizers" check yourself with and without a T-shirt. This should give you an excellent idea of your final appearance.

Another and additional option is to use Crisalix. You can send in photos of yourself, try different implant sizes and see 3-D photo demonstrations of your appearance from all angles following a breast augmentation with the various sizes.

Be sure to discuss your expectations with your plastic surgeon and he/she will make every effort to use a size that will meet your goals.

Best of luck to you.

Implant sizing

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This is a great question.  You are spot on in your observations.  There are many factors that go into final breast size.  You have identified several - profile of the implant and placement, but even then an implant will look different in different bodies.  An implant stretches out the overlying structures so skin elasticity and chest musculature play a role. When implants are placed under the muscle or dual plane, the pec muscle will compress the implant.  Breast implants are not hard so the final shape is influenced by the skin and muscle that covers them. We also have to take into account how much breast tissue and breast fat you already have. This is why consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is so important.  We have the training and experience to explain to you what you need in order to achieve the look you want.

Andrew Jimerson, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 557 reviews

Same size implants look bigger on some women than others.

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Thanks for your question - this is a very common one asked by my patients as well.  A given breast implant type and size can provide a very different result depending on a person's physical characteristics like their overall body frame, breast size and shape.  Sometimes it is difficult to get a sense of a person's body type based on a photo.  However, looking at before and after photos can be useful when done in consultation with a plastic surgeon who can show you photos of people with similar proportions as you.

Same implants with different end result.

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The most common reason is all women start out with a different amount of breast tissue. In  addition to this they have different base width diameters as well as narrow v broad shoulders. All of these things will change the size or appearance of size.

Robert Kearney, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Implant size

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Thank you for your question.  You are right in saying that implants look different on different patients.  This is due to the differences in patients' anatomies.  To determine what would be best for you, please see a board certified plastic surgeon.

All the best,

Dr. Results
Miami, FL

Different implants look different on different women

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This is a great question and why a consultation is necessary before determining implant size. Most patients and other consider breast augmentation an "easy procedure", it is not. There are many variables that influence final size and shape with the implants being only one factor. The woman's age, height, weight, chest structure, breast size, tissue thickness, the ability of the muscle/breast/skin to expand and stretch, how many children she has had, and if she breast fed to name a few. This is why there is a known percentage of women who want to go bigger or smaller. Breast augmentation is an operation you have to have and heal, not a dress you can try on, and chose the best fit. All plastic surgeons try to give the most information possible to their patients and help them make informed decisions to get their desired results.
Discuss what you  want and bring pictures to your consultation as that will help the process. 
Good luck

Eric Weiss MD

Eric Weiss, MD, FACS
Orange Park Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 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.