What Size Breast Implants Do I Need to Go Up One Cup?

We recently took a look at the current shift in aesthetic preferences towards smaller breasts and smaller breast augmentations on our blog. Since then, we’ve had several questions about what it takes to achieve a more modest breast size increase. More specifically, many patients ask, “what size implants do I need to go one size bigger?”

The answer is different for everyone, depending on what breast size and shape you’re starting out with, what bra you use as a yardstick, the size of your torso, and more. Given all this, you many need larger or smaller implants than another patient to achieve a single cup size increase. Let’s delve into the topic right now.

How breast implant sizing works

Breast implants are sized by volume, in units called “cc’s,” which stands for cubic centimeters. Every implant manufacturer offers a wide range of sizes, typically beginning at around 100cc, and increasing in 10 to 20cc intervals all the way up to 800cc or more. Considering there’s only about 1 Tablespoon per 15cc of implant filling, having so many options allows us to achieve very specific breast augmentation size goals. However, this doesn’t make it any easier for you to know what size implant you might need to go from an A cup to B cup, for example.

In an effort to simplify sizing estimates, some surgeons give a rule of thumb of 150 to 200cc per bra cup size increase; however, some of our patients need a 300cc implant to achieve one cup size increase, while for others something as large as a 340cc implant is more appropriate. You can see the wide variation in implant sizes our patients with similar goals by using the search tools in our before and after gallery.

In other words, there is no accurate “rule” for a one cup size increase and we discourage fixating on a certain number for several reasons.

Getting natural looking, beautiful breasts requires thinking about more than size

First, there are multiple factors influencing the actual size increase a breast implant will provide other than volume, including:

  • Implant profile (projection) and base width
  • Implant shape (i.e., classic round, teardrop shaped, extra upper pole fullness)
  • How much natural breast tissue you have
  • The width and contour of your rib cage
  • Your natural breast shape and dimensions (i.e., do you have a wider breast base, or more narrow or tuberous breasts, or any asymmetry or sagging to address?)

For example, a 200cc high profile/narrow base width implant placed on a petite patient will usually create a more dramatic breast size increase than a 200cc low profile/wide base width implant placed on a patient with a larger stature. Additionally, as implant size goes up, it takes more cc’s of volume to achieve a full cup size increase, meaning that you’d probably need a larger implant to go from a B to C cup than you’d need to go from an A to B cup.

Second, there is almost zero consistency in bra sizing; the cups of a 34C bra in one brand or style will fit differently than a 34C in a different brand or style. (No doubt you’ve experienced this already when bra shopping!)

With our own patients, we hone in on an implant size range by having them try on different implant sizers during a consultation and see which size will give them the look they want. Additionally, our plastic surgeons use sizers during your breast augmentation surgery to confirm that the actual implants you receive provide just the right boost in your proportions.

Is it worth it to only go up one cup size with breast augmentation?

As often as we’re asked what it takes to achieve a certain breast size increase, we’re asked whether it’s worth it to have breast augmentation to bump up just one cup size. It can be totally worth it if any of the following is true for you:

  • You’d like to improve the shape of your breasts or correct tubular (“Snoopy”) breasts
  • You want larger breasts but don’t want others to notice you’ve had an augmentation
  • You hope to correct breast asymmetry (i.e. one of your breasts is smaller than the other)
  • You want more fullness in the upper part of your breasts but don’t really want your breasts to be much bigger
  • You’re an athlete and going too big might hamper performance
  • You simply want a very subtle size increase

As our many patients who chose to have smaller breast augmentations will tell you, a skilled plastic surgeon can achieve what no padded bra ever will: improved breast symmetry, a beautiful shape, and breasts that look and feel natural in any type of clothing (or no clothing at all)! Peer-reviewed studies have show that cosmetic surgery leads to higher self-esteem and a better mood, so even a small change can have a big impact.

We’re North Atlanta’s choice for tastefully natural breast augmentation results

As we tell our Atlanta breast augmentation patients, choosing the right implant size is part art and part science—and all something an experienced plastic surgeon can help you with. If you’re considering breast augmentation, whether you want a dramatic size increase or a more modest boost, our board certified plastic surgeons at The Swan Center can help you achieve the look you’re wishing for. Contact us today to request your complimentary consultation.

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