Choosing The Right Breast Implant Size

How to Choose Breast Implant Size

Once you’ve decided to pursue breast augmentation surgery there are a number of decisions you must make before you’re ready for the procedure. Perhaps the most important element that patients wonder about, is how to decide on the best implant size for their aesthetic and lifestyle goals.

Breast implants are available in a wide range of sizes and determining the right size can be daunting for many women. They want fuller breasts, but also worry about selecting an implant that is too large or too small. In a study published in 2019, researchers examining breast revisions found that 38% of patients wanted bigger implants and 3% wanted smaller implants.

While the process may seem intimidating, our team will walk you through it every step of the way. The decision to undergo a breast augmentation is an exciting one, and we work hard to ensure you feel comfortable and confident throughout the entire journey. 

Let’s break it down. While there are a number of components that go into choosing a breast implant, there are 4 main factors to consider:

  1. Volume
  2. Profile
  3. Chest Dimensions
  4. Breast Tissue Thickness


Breast implants are measured in cubic centimeters (cc) rather than cup size. There is a vast range of sizes available, and many women opt for implants in the 300-400 cc range. The size of the implant depends not only on your frame, but also on the overall look you want to achieve. 


Profile refers to the degree to which an implant projects off the chest. Implants can be grouped into low, moderate, moderate-plus, and high profile styles.

These different profile styles correspond to the extent that you want a natural vs. more augmented look, and also, what implant will be able to fit your chest wall structure best. 

Chest Dimensions

Your chest dimensions are the diameter and width of your breast and chest. These measurements help surgeons determine the range of implant sizes best suited for your body frame. An implant that is too large will not fit in a patient that has a very narrow and short chest wall, and similarly, if the implant is too small, it won’t adequately fill the space and provide beautiful cleavage for someone who has a wider chest. 

Breast Tissue Thickness

Breast tissue thickness can also impact the range of breast implants best suited for a patient. Women with thicker breast tissue can typically accommodate wider implants than women with thinner tissue.

While a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is the most important way to determine the right breast implant size, a do-it-yourself method that can help you begin thinking about implant size from the comfort of your own home is the rice test.

The Rice Test

The rice test can help patients visualize how different implant volumes will look in clothing.

To perform the rice test, follow these steps:

  1. Grab a pair of pantyhose and cut off a 12″ strip of the fabric. Any section will do, just do not use the foot.
  2. Tie a knot in the bottom end.
  3. Grab a box of rice.
  4. Measure out the amount of uncooked rice that corresponds to the implant size you would like to test and pour into the pantyhose (1 cup of rice = 240cc).
  5. Tie a knot at the top end.
  6. Repeat the process again so you have 2 rice sacks.
  7. Once bags are filled, try them on under a bra that would normally be loose on you (do not use a padded bra).

Doing the activity using different volumes of rice can help you get a rough idea of the implant volume that will achieve the look you want. If you have not done so already, this is the perfect time to schedule your breast augmentation consultation to share your thoughts with Dr. Mahmood and get her expert opinion.

Breast Augmentation Consultation

During your breast augmentation consultation, Dr. Mahmood will review in detail your aesthetic goals, lifestyle factors, and examples of looks that you would like to achieve. She will go over your medical history and perform a physical exam with meticulous breast and chest wall measurements. Utilizing all these components, she will guide you on the range of possible implants that will fit your body and your cosmetic goals, and will help you determine the right implant for you. Dr. Mahmood firmly believes that it is your body and you should be thrilled with the final implant choice. 

Dr. Mahmood is a board-certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who specializes in breast augmentation. To schedule your breast augmentation consultation, please contact our Union Square, NYC office today.  

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