Breast enlargement: Choosing your implant size

By Mr Anthony Barabas, surgeon at MyBreast Cosmetic Surgery

Making the decision to have breast implants is a complex one and one which requires much thought. This blog post hopefully helps give an understanding of the points to consider.

There are several different philosophies on the best way to choose your breast implant size, and ultimately it comes down to what feels right for you. The starting point is looking at the patient’s current bra size, and seeing how much bigger they are hoping to go. As a general rule of thumb, 100mls will increase small breasts on a lady with a small frame by one cup size. For larger breasts on a broader frame, 200+mls may be required for an increase of a single cup size.

The most important measurement is the width of your breasts. MyBreast surgeons generally recommend keeping the width (diameter) of the implant less than that of the base width of the breast to ensure good coverage of the implants. Normally we advise for an implant to be placed under the muscles if you only have a small about of upper pole breast tissue above your nipples. In this way the upper edge of the implant is not visible, and there is a more natural contour from the chest into the breast. In fact implants are normally not placed entirely under the muscle, but in a “dual plane”. The bottom half of the implant is not covered by muscle to enhance the attractive curves of the lower half of your breasts.

Position of implant – submuscular or subglandular

Part of the decision regarding “above” or “below” the muscles is based on the look you are after. If you want a more natural “teardrop” shaped look, then this is more easily achieved when the implants are under the muscles, whether the implants are round or anatomical. Anatomical shaped implants can also achieve this look when above the muscles. Round implants give more fullness to the upper pole of your breasts than anatomicals, and even more so when placed above the muscles. When under the muscles you often need to choose slightly larger implants to achieve the same look as implants above the muscles. The larger the choice of implant, the safer it is to go under the muscles. When there is unlikely to be any difference in appearance between using an anatomical or round implant then MyBreast always recommend using a round implant, as there is no risk of it changing the shape of the breast if it were to rotate in the first few weeks after insertion. However using implants with a textured surface reduces the risk of implant rotation.

The volume of the implant is largely based on the size you want to go up to, but also by the amount your breast tissue fills the skin of your breasts. The amount of skin stretch combined with the droopiness (ptosis) of the breasts give an idea of how big an implant your breast tissues can accommodate. In droopy breasts, which are also empty, is it sometimes better to go for a larger anatomical implant to help lift up the lower pole of the breast, and keep the nipple projecting forward, than to put in a round implant in which the nipple may point downwards.

Profile of an implant

Implants come in low, medium and high profiles, and the higher the profile the greater the anterior projection, and the more “perky” the breasts may look. The MyBreast surgeons most commonly use implants with medium projection, but using high profile implants is a useful way of increasing the volume of an implant without increasing the implant width in narrower chested women.
A detailed consultation and examination, followed by trying on a bra of your desired cup size filled with implants of different volumes, shapes and projection, is essential before making your final decision on which implants will suit you best. MyBreast surgeons will discuss options and advise you on the best shape and size for your body.

If you would like to speak to MyBreast about any of the information mentioned in this post, then please go to


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