From Playboy Bunnies and television stars to our own friends and coworkers, women are finding ways to be more comfortable in their own skin. Plastic surgery makes it relatively easy to transform parts of ourselves that we want to change for a more attractive shape, giving us better confidence and greater happiness in how we look.
Breast augmentation is the most common plastic surgery procedure performed each year, with roughly 300,000 surgeries completed annually, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If you are thinking about getting a breast enhancement, it is vital to take some time to think through your goals and vision for the procedure, especially as related to the different breast implant sizes you can choose. A board certified plastic surgeon possesses the talent and knowledge to enhance your appearance beautifully, but only you know exactly what you hope to achieve. In order to share that ideal vision with your surgeon, ask yourself these important questions first.
How big do I really want to be?
Choosing your new breast size is one of the most exciting moments in getting a breast augmentation, along with seeing the final results. Close your eyes and picture yourself with what you consider to be the perfect breasts. You might have something in mind as far as cup size, or if you’ve had consultations already, you may be thinking in terms of cc’s. Different measurements can actually mean very different things from one patient to the next, particularly based on existing breast size and frame (height and shoulder width). In other words, implants are not one-size-fits-all, so it helps to understand how much bigger you’d like to be.
Take a step back from those numbers and just imagine the ideal breast size in terms of your own body. Spend some time browsing through our breast implants before and after photos, and also magazines and other websites to find goal photos as well as examples of breasts that are, in your opinion, too small or too big. To help you better envision your options for new breast sizes, you may be able to get a basic idea by inserting implant samples in your bra (unpadded), or trying the rice test, which involves adding measured volumes of rice in plastic baggies to your bra to give you an idea of how you will look in different outfits following your augmentation surgery.
Remember, breast size is a completely personal decision. You can ask your friends or loved ones for their opinions, and certainly your surgeon for professional advice, but in the end, you are the one who must be happy with the results!
How normal or natural do I want my breasts to appear? Natural breasts—the ones you’re born with—may be the very reason you are reading this article. If you aren’t happy with your current size, you are probably like most patients who are looking for “normal.” What this means certainly varies from one patient to the next, but the ultimate goal is often to reach a result that is bigger and “believable.”
The best compliment you can get after your surgery is someone wondering if they’re real… but people you are meeting for the first time should simply think you have a great body. Your close friends and family may know you had surgery, but it shouldn’t be obvious to all those you meet unless you are looking for this type of result. You should love how you look whether you’re in a bathing suit at the beach or in a business suit at a conference. You can dress provocatively or conservatively as desired, all the while enjoying your new boost of confidence. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a result that looks more obvious, then you should be sure to discuss that before surgery. As a surgeon, I can often give a patient the look they desire- the hard part often is fully understanding exactly what that is. You should never have surgery until you’re convinced that your doctor knows exactly what you’re looking for.
As you think about what “normal” or “believable” might mean for you, keep your body’s current proportions in mind. During your consultation, we will measure your current dimensions to ensure the proper placement, positioning, and style of implants are selected. Key elements we’ll consider here include your natural breast width, chest wall shape, breast diameter, tightness of your breast tissue, the amount of ptosis (breast sag), and your overall body proportions, height, and weight. These measurements will tell us what the best possible breast sizes may be, based purely on your physique. In the end, you need to be happy. The best way to assure this is to discuss your wishes with your surgeon as much as you need to before surgery. You have the best chance of being happy with your result if both you and your plastic surgeon are on the same page.
Will larger breasts get in the way of my lifestyle or sports and activities?
Usually patients are able to return to their normal lifestyles without issue following the recovery period. However, if you are a gymnast, athlete, fitness instructor or enthusiast, or someone overly active, you may wish to keep your active lifestyle in mind as you are choosing the size of your implants. Your mirror inspires you to take action, but the surgery impacts more than just what you can see. Implants are often placed underneath the pectoral muscles, which means they do impact the function of that muscle. Implants must be placed properly under the muscle and must be a good fit or postoperative issues may arise. An implant that is too big can negatively affect the pectoral muscles, both in terms of feeling and function.
A good surgeon will guide you toward what’s feasible for your muscle, helping to find the right implant size and type for your build. It is important that you not only look good, but that you feel good too. Too large an implant may be too tight under the muscle and can cause discomfort or even pain. It is also worth noting that implant size impacts how you will age to some extent, with gravity causing larger breasts to droop sooner than smaller to medium sized breasts. It is important to find the balance that works best for your anatomy and your desires.
Do I have any current complaints about the symmetry of my breasts?
Many women have some degree of asymmetry or mismatch between their breasts. Breast augmentation surgery is the perfect time to correct a pre-existing unevenness between your breasts. If one side is noticeably larger than the other, you can work with your surgeon to improve symmetry at the same time. If positioning or shape is the issue, procedures can correct that as well. As one example, here is a patient we helped to gain symmetry as well as size in a recent breast enhancement.
Am I happy with the current perkiness of my breasts?
Breasts eventually start sagging due to a number of factors, like pregnancy and aging, not to mention gravity. A breast lift with implants may be a suitable option for you if you feel that your breasts have lost some of their perkiness over the years or simply if you wish they didn’t sag as much as they do. A breast lift can be performed at the same time as a breast augmentation, optimizing the results for a better size and shape.
Size is a very important factor in your breast augmentation planning, but you may also find it valuable to discuss the overall look (shape / style) and feel of your enhanced breasts. Your choice of saline breast implants vs. silicone breast implants can impact how your breasts feel following the surgery. Silicone seems to provide the feeling of a more natural breast, while saline implants have their own set of benefits. The location of your surgical incisions requires careful thought as well, and the placement of your breast implants, either over or under your pectoral muscle, is another vital piece of the puzzle. By considering all aspects of breast enhancement prior to having your surgery, most notably breast size, you will help to ensure that you absolutely love the outcome.
Contact Dr. Newman today for a complimentary consultation to go over any of your questions about breast implants.