Selecting the right breast implants size is, ideally, the result of give and take between you and your plastic surgeon. No matter how much research you do ahead of time into different volumes and shapes, it’s not until you speak with a plastic surgeon one-on-one that you really get a clear idea of what will work for you. It’s a good idea to look at lots of pictures and bring the ones you like to your breast implant consultation. But be ready to listen to what your surgeon tells you about his or her experience with providing great results for patients with your particular frame and amount of existing breast tissue.

Use Your Words

The more descriptive you can be about the “look” you desire, the more your surgeon can narrow down the size range that’s right for you. When you look at before and after pictures with your surgeon, talk about more than just the cup size you think you are seeing. For example, you might say:

“I like the amount of curvature along the side of this breast.”
“I like how these breasts aren’t too wide or too close together but stick out a little further in front.”
“I like the way the nipple is positioned in relation to the implant on this patient.”

Understand How Breast Shape and Placement Affect Size

Your plastic surgeon should take the time to explain that apparent size isn’t just about the amount of filler material in the implant. Some implants are wider and flatter. Some are narrower and project forward more (this is sometimes referred to as “high profile”). Deciding on the overall shape you want to achieve for your breasts is often the first step before you get down to talking about ccs. A 250cc implant that is low profile will look very different than a 250cc implant that is high profile even though they have exactly the same volume.

The placement of the implant can also make it look bigger or smaller. Let’s say you’ve tried on a “tester” implant at home, found a size you like and know exactly how many ccs it is. That’s only a measure of what you might look like with a subglandular placement. Your plastic surgeon may recommend adding more volume if the implant will be placed under the muscle to get the same effect.

Trust Your Surgeon’s Eye

There’s another important reason not to get hung up on the number of ccs. Your surgeon may need to make a last minute adjustment in size once the operation is already underway. With saline, this involves adjusting the amount of filler. With silicone, your surgeon may try several sterile, single-use “sizers” to find just the right volume before inserting the actual implant. The goal is to get you the final look you have clearly stated you want even if that involves going with a slightly higher or lower number of ccs than discussed. This means you need to find a surgeon you really trust to make that judgment call.

Use Software Tools to Clarify Expectations

Many plastic surgeons use imaging software during a breast implant consultation. Some of these programs (like INAModel™) use a “dummy” model. Your weight, height, current cup size, shoulder, abdomen, waist, hip and buttock measurements are all input to create a computer-generated 3D model. From there, you and your surgeon can adjust various aspects of the bustline to imitate different breast implant sizes and discuss the pros and cons.

More high-tech programs such as Axis Three actually scan your body and create a 3D image that can be manipulated in more detail. The simulation is photorealistic and gives you the most accurate idea of what your breasts would look like with different implant sizes, shapes and placement. It’s not a guarantee of your results; but it does ensure that you and your surgeon are on the same page regarding what size you really want.

Take Warnings Seriously

If your plastic surgeon doesn’t recommend going over a particular size, there’s probably a reason why. Some surgeons draw the line at inserting implants that are larger than 500cc. Others warn that anything over 350cc carries a higher risk of complications. This doesn’t mean you can’t insist on getting larger implants. However, it’s better if both you an