When you are first thinking about having a breast enlargement, this might seem like any easy question. You may know someone who has had breast implants, so you ask them what implants she had and she says she had 390cc implants, so you think, her’s look great, so I’ll have 390cc implants too please.
Size is Not Important
Unfortunately, like most things in life – it is not that simple! The volume of the implant (in this case, 390cc) is only one factor when choosing which implant to have. In fact, when I am deciding on which breast implant to use on a patient, it is probably the last thing that I consider.
Width is Important
The first thing that I think about is the base diameter of your chest as this will dictate how wide an implant that I can use. This is crucial. If the implant is too wide for your chest, then you may get a web between your breasts (known as symmastia or synmastia), or there may be too much of the implant to the sides of your breasts and your arm will hit your breasts which will be uncomfortable. If the implant is too narrow it is not so bad, but it will not fill the footprint of your breast and so it is more difficult to give a nice shape to the cleavage.
You Cannot Compare Implants without Knowing More than the Volume
There are many different breast implants that have 390cc volume because implants come in different shapes and projections. The different shapes of implant are round, teardrop (also known as anatomical or shaped implants) and conical (the conical shape is only available in polyurethane foam implants).
There is also a variety of projections for each shape “ low, medium, high and extra high.
This means that a 390cc low projection implant will look different to a 390cc extra high projection implant. In fact, the low projection implant will have a wider base diameter than the extra high profile implant. This brings us back to the base diameter, which is the key when deciding on a breast implant.
How I Choose a Breast Implant
When choosing a breast implant, the first thing that I do is to measure the base diameter of your chest. This is a fixed measurement and will dictate the size of implant that you can have.
The next step is to try on some sizers. I have a sizing kit in the clinic, which has sizing bras and vests and allows you to ‘try on’ different volumes in your bra to get an idea of the sort of size increase that you would like.
Cup sizes are unreliable and whilst I always ask patients if they have an idea of the cup size that they would like to be, I always stress that I am unable to guarantee a particular cup size. The sizing kit is more accurate and will give a good idea of what is achievable with the different volumes.
Finally, we go through some of my before and after photographs of patients with different shapes and different projections of implant to see what sort of ‘look’ you are after. Everybody is different and your final result will depend on the size and the shape of your breast before you start, but you can get an idea of what the different shapes and projections look like.
It is then a case of putting these pieces of information together to come up with a final cup size:
- Base Diameter of your breast as established by my measurements
- Volume of Implant as established by the sizers in sizing kit
- Shape and Projection of implant as established by the ‘look’ you desire based on photographs
Sometimes, everything fits together nicely and it is relatively straightforward to come up with the implant that is right for you, but at other times, a compromise may be needed.
You May Need to Compromise on Size or Shape
The base diameter of your chest is set and you cannot change it and this will narrow down the range of implants that I can use in your case. Sometimes patients choose a certain volume of implant and then chose a certain shape, but it may not be possible to use an implant of that shape and volume in their breast.
The common situation when this occurs is when patients choose quite a large volume and may have a narrow chest. They may then go on to say that they don’t want too much fullness in the upper part of the breast and want a more natural look. It may be that in order to use an implant of the volume that they like, they will have to have an extra high projection, which will give a lot of fullness in the upper part of the breast. Alternatively, if they wanted a more natural look with a lower profile or anatomical implant, then they would have to accept a smaller volume of implant. We can have a discussion about this and you may want to go away and think about things.
I am very happy to see you again and again to go over things to make sure that we are confident that we have chosen the best implant for you.
It may all seem daunting, but don’t worry, it usually comes down to some pretty simple choices.
It is important not to get too bogged down in deciding between the exact volume of implant. The result depends on many factors and the actual implant volume is only one factor. Whilst it is impossible to guarantee a cup size, breast augmentation delivers predictable and life-changing results and has a very high patient satisfaction rate.