How to Choose the Right Size Breast Implants
A board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. David S. Reid works at New Dimensions Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery in Belleville, Illinois. He completed a residency in plastic surgery at Walter Reed Medical Center, and formerly served as an assistant professor at both Eastern Virginia Medical School and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. He has been in private practice since 1995. In this piece, he tells us how women should go about choosing the right size implants for their breast augmentation.
The size that a woman wants her breasts to be is a personal choice, but there are some guidelines that I follow as a plastic surgeon. Because I have seen so many women go through this procedure, and performed so many augmentations over the course of my career, I have a fairly good idea of what most women are looking for in terms of the right size implant to choose.
Obviously, the larger the patient is in overall size—height, weight, etc.—the larger implant she is going to need to be able to achieve the same degree of enlargement in the breast. So what that means is that when you have a petite woman, she might be able to get a smaller-sized implant and still achieve the same results as a larger woman in terms of the cup size of her breasts at the end of the surgery.
If you have an array of patients coming in who are petite and wear A cup bras and then you also have larger women who might be 180 pounds coming in, I obviously would not be recommending that those women all get the same-sized implant—even if they all had the goal of coming out with the same size breasts.
In general, when I do a consultation with a patient, I will measure the base width of her breasts. That will help me establish the largest size implant that the patient could have put in while still achieving a natural look.
Whether a woman chooses to go with a saline or silicone implant won’t really affect the size she can get—although that is a common misconception. Unless it is an extreme case that we’re looking at, all implant types are available in all sizes these days.
I actually find it interesting that nowadays the average cosmetic patient coming in to my office asking for a breast augmentation is usually in her 20s or 30s. The majority of these people were not thinking about enlarging their breasts during the time of the silicone implant scare in the 1990s. So they don’t have any preconceived notions or fears when it comes time to choose the type of implant for their procedure— saline or silicone.
Meanwhile, the average mastectomy reconstruction patient that I see is usually in her 50s or above, and the majority of these women were tuned in to the silicone implant scare back when it came about. So they tend to be much more cautious when choosing silicone or saline.
Overall, I notice that far more of my reconstruction patients tend to ask for saline specifically—mainly because of the fears they have in the back of their mind from the scare back in the ’90s—while my younger patients in their 20s and 30s are just as likely to ask for silicone as they are saline.
For any patient who might be considering undergoing a breast augmentation operation, though, I would definitely recommend that she get into a plastic surgeon’s office for a consultation. That is really going to be the best way to find out your best options in terms of both the size of the implant that suits each individual body frame, as well as what type of implant will work best for each patient’s individual needs and cosmetic goals.
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.