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The BIG Breast Debate

The BIG Breast Debate

Where you live plays a role in determining what you view as “large” when it comes to implant and breast size. “I think it is a little bit geographic,” shares New Jersey plastic surgeon Dr. Caroline Glicksman. “Patients who are out in the sun and on the beach all year round versus more professional women who may be more covered up in the Northeast.” In warmer climates the average implant size selected tends to be larger than it is in cooler areas such as the Midwest or the East Coast. While one woman may view the jump from a full B cup to a small C cup as going “large,” another woman may view the same change as small.

by Anne Meyer

Not too Big, Not too Small

Regardless of your region, there is a size range of implants to choose from that will suit your body’s proportions, and that range is found based on measurements.

Most people are familiar with the idea that implants are measured in cc’s, or “cubic centimeters.” For every 50 cc’s, you can imagine about three tablespoons of volume. Cc’s alone don’t determine if an implant is too big for a person as many other factors come into play, such as the amount of breast tissue a person has to begin with, or whether a person has a small frame and narrow chest or a large frame and a wide chest.


Implants are also measured by their base width size and their height size. Just as your foot has a shoe size that fits without crushing your toes or leaving too much wiggle room, your breast has a “footprint” that will need to be matched by the implant’s shape, so that the implant fills out the chest without being too large or too small. If an implant has measurements that don’t match the chest, it’s possible that the edges of the implant will be felt or the shape of the implant seen instead of a natural looking result.

Once your surgeon has determined your chest measurements, it is time to decide on the fourth measurement: projection.  If you prefer to be on the small end of what will fit for you, you may decide to choose an implant with a low profile projection. Other options are moderate profile projection, high profile projection and extra high profile projection

Having the “Too Big” Talk

An implant that doesn’t fit within the guidelines of your body’s measurements is too big for you. When a patient desires an over-sized implant, Dr. Glicksman educates them on the long term results. “Patients always say, ‘I read online I should go a little bigger than I want, because in six months I’m going to wish I went bigger.’ I show those patients pictures – Do you want ripples on the side? Do you want that to bottom out? Chances are, if you’re over-sized with a heavy implant, those are trade-offs.”

Ohio surgeon Dr. Craig Colville agrees on emphasizing long-term results during the implant selection process. “It is important because different breasts and different women are going to age differently. So you talk to them about that.”


The “Big” Picture: A Happy Patient

“It really comes down to the patient and what they want,” says Colville. “Whether they want proportion or restoration, or whether they really do want a larger breast.” If your fear is ending up too big with problems down the road, or if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum with the fear of ending up too small and regretting your decision, you can avoid costly mistakes and ensure success by choosing a board certified plastic surgeon to guide you safely – and correctly – through the process.

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