How large of breast implants is too large? (Photo)

I have a consult on October 11th and another with another doctor on the 26th. I want to get breast implants as large as I can and have them look great without looking awkward. I am 130lbs 5'4. Mother of 2. Attention isn't a bad thing in my book. Unless it's bad attention.

Doctor Answers 13

Larger breast implants = increased risks and complications

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Just a word of caution when choosing "as large as I can" breast implants. Although breast implants can and do enhance a woman's silhouette; they are not life time devices. This means that they are unstable in the human body regardless of shape, model, or filling. Please be aware that the larger the implant the higher the probability for complications down the line. Remember than in order to 'fit' a larger implant more tissue needs to be cut/divided to accommodate it - therefore the weaker your supporting tissues become which can lead to revisionary surgery sooner. Malposition, nipple numbness, chronic pain, irreversible soft tissue damage, skin stretch deformities, capsular contractures, etc. are only just a few risks to consider when choosing large implants. Please discuss these in detail with your surgeon. You can also look at the breast augmentation revision forum on this site for more information. 

Best wishes,

Your choice

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Just know that the larger you go the more likely they will look unnatural.  Best thing to do is have the surgeons your going to have consultation with show you before/after photos of patients with your shape/frame with different size implants (make sure they show you at least 3 views from each patient - front, quarter turn and profile views).  Also, ask the plastic surgeon what she/he would recommend.

How large of breast implants is too large?

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Thank you for your question and photograph.  The size of breast implant that will fit you will be determined by a measurement of the base width of your breast which your surgeon should measure.  In addition your surgeon should provide sizers to be placed into a sports bra so that you can look in the mirror RNC what different sized implants look like.  Generally speaking it takes 150-200 cc of breast implant to increase you by one cup size in the same style and manufacture brought to currently wear.  To learn more on how to choose breast implant size please read the following link:

BA sizes

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Hello dear, thanks for your post and provided information as well. 

The thing about size is...
Did You Know? Implant size (measured by cubic centimeters, or “cc”) only matters as far as it will help you get the look you want. In these photos, can you guess who has the larger sized implants?

What limits how big you should go?

1. Your current breast size. This matters because you’ve got to have enough existing breast tissue to cover the implant. If you haven’t got a lot to spare, some implants may just be too big to fit.
2. Your chest and shoulder width. Fortunately, implants come in different base widths so you can get a size that works well with your frame.

I recommend to make an appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon for a person evaluation and to talk about your goals. 

Appropriate implant size

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Thank you for your question and photo.  This question is difficult to answer without an in-person exam.  Several factors will affect the final volume of implant:  breast width, amount of existing breast tissue, implant type, projection, and shape, and pocket location (over/under the muscle).  Also, you have some asymmetry with regard to size- the breast on the right side of the picture is smaller with a higher, tighter breast fold.   In order to minimize long term complications, you will need to keep the implant within the breast width dimensions.  If you go to wide you run the risk of symmastia (uniboob) or too much implant out towards your arms.  Once you reach the maximal implant width, the only way to increase volume is to add projection (how far off the chest the implants sits).   With your nipple/areolar position (towards the outer side of the breast), a higher profile (higher projecting) implant puts you at risk to have your nipples point towards the outside of your breast.  Best to get a few consultations from board certified plastic surgeons.  Good luck.  

Breast implant size

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When deciding how to proceed with breast enhancement surgery, four basic questions need to be answered:

  1. What type of implant?  (saline or silicone)
  2. Incision choice? (inframammary, peri-areolar, axillary, umbilical)
  3. Location of implant? (above or below muscle)
  4. Size of implant?

The hardest decision to make, by far, is the size.  The final size will be determined by detailed measurements and analysis of photographs, fulfilling the patient's desires, looking at before and after pictures, computer simulation, trying on sizers and talking with your plastic surgeon.  Bringing in photos of desired results is very helpful for the plastic surgeon.  Please see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for the best possible results.

Good Luck!

How big is too big?

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Choosing an implant size/style is an important decision which is best made in concert with your surgeon. Ultimately, options are based on a number of factors including:

-Chest dimensions: This point is crucial as the width of your breasts defines the available "real estate" on which the foundation of your augmentation is built. This "foot print" is the absolute limit with which you are dealing.  Too "large" is not so much the risk as too "wide." You cannot build a 3 acre mansion on a half acre plot. An implant which is too wide (exceeding the available space on your chest) will generally over hang laterally making it more noticeable and occasionally contributing to discomfort and nerve symptoms (numbness or tingling). This will also contribute to a more unnatural look.

-Tissue quality: This relates to size in the sense that the implant will be suspended by your tissue. Too large an implant may place took large a stress on these suspending tissues leading to healing problems in the short term and bottoming out in the long term.

-Patient desire (what is the look you are hoping to achieve?)

My role as a surgeon is to manage expectations and guide you towards a prudent choice which can satisfy these reasonable goals. Often times, a surgeon can guide a patient toward a size/cc range and patients will make determinations on implant style/profile. Patient seeking more or less projection, or seeking a more pronounced or subtle upper pole volume increase can be guided toward an implant which will help them best achieve their goals. Additionally, technique variations (sub muscular vs. sub glandular) can also aid in obtaining the look you desire.  

There are a number of tools available to help guide patient/surgeon decision making including sizers, 3D imaging and goal photos. Each modality can help better communicate your goals to your surgeon and vice versa.

Ultimately, it is important to not marry oneself to a particular "cc" as oppose to a particular "look." Communication is key as you and your surgeon create your custom surgical plan. 

As always, discuss your concerns with a board certified plastic surgeon. 

Breast Implants

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Hi Kindness and Beauty, I love that name!  Most important for you, I believe, would be to find some "wish-boob" photos to bring to your two consults. Here are a few tips for you because this is perhaps the hardest decision for a patient to make, as well as the surgeon.  Also see the video attached to my answer.  We spend up to two hours for our BA consults to be sure there is careful communication. We do a full exam in front of a full-length mirror taking six exact measurements.    We put your photos on a large computer screen for imaging, and go over your “ideal-size” photos. We then save this information to your password protected “web account.”

     First and foremost the implant should fit the dimensions of your breast and tissue cover.  Balancing the implant to your over-all body shape and tissue cover is essential.    The main thing is to have the diameter of the implant fit the diameter of your breast "foot-print".  Higher profile implants tend to have a smaller diameter.  Higher is really a marketing term, but often translates into the same volume implant with a narrower base.  Saline implants actually tend to decrease in diameter as they are inflated!  The average size chosen over our last 7,000 breast implants was “350cc”.  BUT, 90% of our patients tell us they wish they were bigger a year after BA.  (We will see you every year for routine checks at no charge.) It’s like your mind incorporates the "new you" into your own self-image over a period of time. Cup size estimates can be misleading, but I generally advise patients that they will experience an increase of approximately one cup size per 200 cc.  You can try on implants in the office by placing them into a special bra.  The implant is also flattened somewhat when under the muscle, so it is a good idea to bump it up a bit. Approximately 1-ounce (25cc) is added to the final volume to account for flattening of the implant in the partial sub-muscular pocket.  Once you decide on a size you like, then add on 25cc, because in real life the implant will be flattened slightly by your tissues.  Multiple measurements need to be taken to fit an implant to your exact anatomy.  Have your surgeon's office show you the charts of the implant dimensions for the various profiles of silicone and saline from the manufacturer.  Then you and your surgeon can piece together the puzzle by matching your measurements, with your wishes, versus your tissue cover and the available implants to arrive at a surgical plan.  Keep in mind larger implants tend to have more problems over the years.  Since silicone implants wrinkle less than saline implants, they might be your best bet.

     You can also approximate this at home by measuring out an equivalent amount of rice placed into a cutoff foot of old panty-hose, and put this in your bra.  Wear this around the house for a while, and see what you think.  Implant size must square with assessments of tissue cover, breast diameter, and chest wall width.  Multiple measurements of your chest wall are taken (seven in total).  Implant size selection has been an issue of much discussion.

     Therefore, I use a wide variety of methods, but the implant size is always established preoperatively.  Also, patients are advised to bring reference photos demonstrating their ideal size and shape.  A photo album of patient pictures is maintained to assist them.  These photos ultimately help in determining where the implants will be placed, since they can be shifted inside (to provide more cleavage), to the outside, up or superiorly, and down or inferiorly during surgery.  In determining the final size selection, I always place the highest priority on the preoperative measurements and potential tissue cover.  Finally, your verbal requests are factored into the analysis.

     We use the quick-recovery approach, so click on the web reference link below to have this explained and you can see the list of Quick-Recovery (Flash-Recovery or Rapid-Recovery) Breast Augmentation articles from peer-reviewed surgery journals.  It is a surgical procedure that uses special instruments and techniques to minimize tissue damage and avoid touching the ribs. It causes far less trauma to surrounding tissue than traditional approaches, and it dramatically reduces pain and recovery time. In published studies of BA patients, 95-percent of women interviewed after the procedure returned to normal daily activities within 24-hours. Quick-recovery BA is not a “gimmick.”  These specialized techniques, which actually speed recovery and get you back to your daily routine, kids and work, are published in our plastic surgery journals.  Because these PS journals are “peer-reviewed” and edited, they are the gold-standard in our field as being valid science. Therefore, these are sound techniques, not marketing hype. 

     Be sure to see only a board certified plastic surgeon (by ABPS - The American Board of Plastic Surgery) who is a member of ASAPS (The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) and or a member of ASPS (The American Society of Plastic Surgeons).  Also, ask if the PS has an established, high volume breast augmentation practice, performing several hundred breast augmentations each year.  Be sure the PS has been in practice for a while, about 20-years might be a good gauge.  Does the PS offer all three incisions?  Discuss the implant type (gel or saline), shaped "gummy bear" or non-shaped, smooth or textured, implant pocket (over or under the muscle) and the "quick-recovery approach."  Ask to see their before and after photos if you didn’t see any on their website.  If they are experienced, they should have several 100 breast implant patients for you to view.  I would also recommend that your doctor offer you the chance to talk to past patients who would be happy to discuss their experience with you.  You need to feel comfortable, so make sure the environment is safe as in an accredited surgery center.  Also, ask a prospective surgeon if he or she has ever published journal articles in professional peer-reviewed journals, which they can provide you.      All the best, “Dr. Joe”



How large of breast implants is too large?

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During your consultation, a thorough exam will include your breast dimensions. This will determine your ideal range of volume for you. You really don't want an implant that is wider than your breast. If you choose to go too wide, you may find that the implants get in the way of certain activities, and you will increase your risk of permanent numbness. Good luck!

Breast Augmentation

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Implant size is an important consideration in augmentation.Computer imaging is useful in situations like yours.The issue is not just implant size but implant shape is also an important consideration.

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.