How is it possible to go down in band size? E.g. 34 to 32?

I have seen some reviews of BAs on this website reporting that they have gone down in band size, for example going from a 34B to a 32C. Is this down to weight loss? I don't understand how the rib cage could change that much in size?? If anyone can enlighten me on this as I'm not really clued up on bra sizes, I'd be grateful! :)

Doctor Answers 6

Breast augmentation and bra band size

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The rib cage doesn't change in size. What happens is that if you wear the bra band tighter (band), it will push your breasts deeper into the bra, which would necessitate a bigger cup to accommodate your breasts. For example, a 36B bra is equivalent to a 34C. The bottom line is that you and your plastic surgeon should decide on a "look" size, not a "cup size." After surgery,  it doesn't matter what cup size you are; all that matters is that it fits. Don't get hung up on letters and numbers. For more information on this and similar topics, I recommend a plastic surgery Q&A book like "The Scoop On Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths." Best of luck to you.

Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Decrease in band size of bra

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 You are correct in that the band size is a measurement of the circumference of the chest wall. Since this is a bony structure it will not change. With a lot of weight loss you can make this circumference smaller. Hope this is helpful.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Would be difficult

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I don't think that band size can actually decrease.  Bras are just an article of clothing and the sizes are not well regulated.
I can see if you lose significant weight that it might change your band size.
Best Wishes,
Nana Mizuguchi, MD

Nana N. Mizuguchi, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Breast augmentation - how does it affect bra band size

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Thank you for asking about your breast augmentation.

  • There are lots of reasons that a women might go down a band size after breast augmentation -
  • Change in bra style or manufacturer is the most common.
  • The size of the implant, making the cup larger, can pull rib skin tighter.
  • Wearing a bra that is old - and the band is stretched.
  • And yes, as you suggested, weight loss too.
  • Bra sizes are not scientific and there is great variation 
  • Most important - whatever the size, the fit should be comfortable.
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Best wishes - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Bra sizes are unreliable

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Dear AFlat,  

You raise a good point about bra sizes.  It is important to take in to account the back size and this is unlikely to change following breast augmentation.  It may go up a bit with swelling or down a bit with weight loss, but broadly speaking it should be about the same.

Having said that, people often wear the wrong bra size and a 32C would probably fit a patient who was actually 34D. So in your example, the patient may have wanted to be a D cup but then come back to clinic saying that she was only a 32C (having been a 34B), when in fact she should be comparing it with the same back size ie 34D.  

The main thing is that the bra fits and is comfortable and not so much what the actual cup size is.  I hope that this brings some clarity to it (although I accept that it is perhaps not the most crystal clear answer!).

Difference in sizing

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This amounts to a difference in the way the person measuring goes about sizing the bra.  Breast augmentation should not affect you in this way. 

Ethan Philpott, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 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.