Which Breast Implant Size Do I Need?
There are a number of very interesting connections between cosmetic breast surgery, both breast augmentations with implants and breast reductions, and mathematics. Plastic surgeons must, of course, look at all breasts with an artistic eye, but there are relationships and ratios that determine the breast size and shape.
Breast enlargement with saline or silicone implants
There are two factors related to measuring the correct brassiere size needed
1. Chest circumference: band size
The way cosmetic plastic surgeons measure chest size is different from the way the lady that sells your bra at Victoria’s Secret measures you. There are no industry standards for bra manufacturers; some mark their bras based on the chest circumference under your breast, and some measure it at the armpit! However, all base the numbers on even numbers. You round up if you measure an odd number, so a 33-inch circumference becomes a 34. The bra salesperson will measure your circumference under your breast, usually giving a smaller circumference.
Plastic surgeons standardize the measurement by measuring your chest circumference under the armpit. This is a measure of your skeletal width and has a relationship to your breast size. So, by measuring your chest wall, you end up with a number around 29 to 46 inches. That is your bra measurement, as when you say in ”I wear a 36C.”
Breast enlargement surgery does not affect the band measure. Your skeleton is what affects it. Band measure can be increased by gaining weight, but implants will only increase your cup size.2. Breast Cup sizeThe cup size of your breasts is measured in inches by measuring the circumference of your chest wall and breasts at the nipples, the fullest part of the breast, and then being assigned a letter to demonstrate that. This measurement is usually larger than the chest wall circumference alone unless you have very flat or small breasts. For every inch difference that the measurement is greater at the nipple and chest combination than the chest wall alone, you get a cup size letter! If you have one inch more, you have an A cup; 2 inches more, a B cup; 3 inches more, a C cup; etc.For example, say you measure 34 inches at the armpit. That is your band size. You also measure 37 inches at the nipples. That is a 3-inch difference (A,B,C), so you should wear a 34C bra!

The math of breast enlargement surgery

In the 1950s, a French surgeon measured a lot of breasts and came up with some important breast size relationships.

For breasts with band sizes between:

32-34 inches – each cup size = 100 gm /100cc
36-38 inches – = 200gm / 200cc
40-42 inches – = 300gm / 300cc
44-46 inches – = 400gm / 400cc

Breast enlargement with implants

If you are trying to find out what size breast implants to have placed for your breast enlargement surgery, the size-volume chart can be a starting point, though in my experience you need to multply the volume numbers above by 1.5. So, if you have a 32 band size and an A cup and want to go to a C cup, you need a minimum of 300 cc.  If you are a 42B and want to go to a D cup, you need (B to D is 2 cup sizes = 300 x 1.5 =) 450 cc implants.

Brassiere sizes and breast cup size

There is an inverse relationship between bra size and cup size. For example, a 36C  bra is equivalent to a  34D, a 32DD, a 38B or a 40A! As for which bra you wear, it just depends on which manufacturer you use and how comfy you feel in each bra.

I know, its confusing, but your cosmetic plastic surgeon should be able to help you choose the right size implants using a combination of math and art.

Need more information on breast surgery? Find it here:

Breast surgery information

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