Breast Implant Sizes: What Are My Options, and How Do I Choose?

Dr. Sacha Obaid, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Dallas, Plano, Southlake, and Nearby Fort Worth, Texas

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By Sacha Obaid

If you’re thinking about getting breast implants, you likely have questions, especially about what implant size and shape will look best on your body. Here’s what you need to know to ensure you’re happy with your results!

Breast Implant Sizes and Shapes for You to Choose From

If you’re just starting to consider the idea of having breast implants—or if you’ve never given it any thought before—you might be under the impression that the only factor to consider is how big you want your chest to be. Not so! Breast implant size is an important issue, of course, but shape and profile choices also contribute a great deal to your overall look.

Size: Volume and Diameter

Breast implant size is the most influential factor in terms of how implants will affect your appearance. Most women find it’s also the hardest choice to make. When you’re thinking about the size of implants you want, you’ll probably change your mind several times before you make a final decision!

First, it’s important to know that breast implant sizes aren’t the same as bra cup sizes. Breast implants are measured in volume, usually in cubic centimeters (CCs) or milliliters. The more CCs or milliliters an implant has, the larger it is, and the more it will project outward.

The projection of a breast implant is also affected by its diameter, which is the width of the implant at its widest point. For instance, compare two breast implants of 425 CCs that have different diameters. Even though they hold the same volume, they’ll be different shapes. The implant with the wider diameter will be flatter and project outward less than the implant with the narrower diameter.

Shape: Teardrop Versus Round

Breast implants can be round or teardrop-shaped. Round implants have a symmetrical shape, giving the breast the same level of fullness all the way around. The teardrop-shape has more volume on the lower half, which gives more fullness to the area of the breast below the nipple.

Breasts with teardrop-shaped implants have a more natural look, while breasts with round implants are much fuller at the top and have more outward projection. While round implants typically look less natural than teardrop-shaped implants, they allow for a more dramatic level of fullness that most women prefer.

Profile: Moderate Versus High

The profile of a breast implant influences how full your breasts look, but in a different way than volume or shape. Implants with a moderate profile are flatter, while high-profile implants are higher and more rounded. This means that if you have high-profile implants, your breasts will have more projection and look more prominent than if you have moderate-profile implants.

Moderate implants typically look more natural, but, again, many women like the dramatic, push-up look that comes with high-profile breast implants.

These types of choices are completely up to you, and your board-certified surgeon will be able to help.

breast implant size

The Implant Brands You Need to Know

IDEAL®: IDEAL saline breast implants have a special multi-layer shell that gives them a much more natural feel. Older saline implants don’t have the natural feel of silicone, but the IDEAL implant shell solves this problem. IDEAL implants give you the natural feel and look of silicone, with the safety of saline. Saline implants are considered safer because saline is similar to the liquid that is naturally present in cells. If a saline implant ruptures, the excess liquid is safely absorbed by the body. If a silicone implant ruptures, the silicone gel is not absorbed and must be removed. In both cases the implant must be replaced.

MENTOR®: With a wide range of both saline and silicone implants on offer, MENTOR provides you with lots of options. You can choose from round and teardrop-shaped implants in several different profiles, with volumes up to 800 CCs.

Sientra®: Sientra has a range of options for silicone implants that is similar to MENTOR. This includes low, moderate, and high profiles; round and teardrop-shaped bases; and volumes up to 700 CCs.

Both Sientra and MENTOR offer implants known as “gummy bear” implants. These are silicone implants made from a cohesive silicone gel that has a firmer texture than older gel formulations. This means that if an implant ruptures, the gummy bear gel will hold its shape better.

What Are the Differences Between Implant Brands?

All of these implant brands are similar in terms of quality, and all are FDA-approved for use in the U.S.

One difference between MENTOR and Sientra implants is that MENTOR implants are available in larger sizes. As 150 CCs is approximately equivalent to one cup size for the average woman, the 100 CC difference between these 2 brands equates to less than a full cup size.

Another difference is that Sientra offers only silicone implants, whereas MENTOR has both silicone and saline options, and IDEAL implants are saline only. If you want saline implants, your options are from MENTOR and IDEAL. If you want silicone implants, your choices are MENTOR and Sientra.

When it comes to choosing between MENTOR, Sientra, and IDEAL, it’s most important to choose a size and shape that works for you than it is to choose a particular brand. This is something you’ll discuss with your surgeon, and you can also look at before-and-after pictures of people who have had breast implant surgery.

How to Choose the Right Breast Implant Size and Shape

When you’re choosing breast implants, there’s more to think about than how the different sizes and shapes will look on your body. For most women, that’s a very important part, but there are some other things to consider.

The main things that might influence your choice include:

  • Your natural body shape and frame size – If you have a narrow chest and/or a small frame, you’re limited in the size of implants that you can safely and comfortably wear. Even if you are limited to small-diameter implants for this reason, you can still choose high-profile implants to achieve more fullness.
  • The shape and size of your natural breasts or your current breast implants
  • The look you want your new breasts to have – For example, do you want them to look natural or have a more dramatically full look? If you want natural-looking breasts, it’s generally better to choose smaller implants with a moderate profile and/or a teardrop shape.
  • Whether your current breasts are sagging or drooping – For example, if your breasts sag because of lost volume after nursing, you might opt for larger implants to provide the necessary volume. Alternatively, you might opt for a breast lift in addition to having implants.
  • How much natural breast tissue you have – If your natural breasts are very small, and you don’t have much breast tissue, implants that are too large won’t be properly covered. This means there’s a risk that the edges of the implants will be visible beneath your skin.
  • Your lifestyle and the kinds of physical activities you do – If you have a very active lifestyle or do high-impact exercise, having larger implants may make exercise uncomfortable or difficult.
  • Larger implants may have a higher risk of complications – This is especially true if you choose implants that are too large for your frame.

When making your implant selection, discuss your options with your surgeon. Don’t let your surgeon pressure you into getting implants you don’t want, but listen closely to their suggestions on size and shape. They can give you lots of advice—based on experience—for choosing implants that look great and minimize your risk of complications.