In breast augmentation surgery women should choose implant size based on the way it makes the breast look. But the obvious question from prospective patients is what cup size will I be afterwards? Ot what implant volume is needed to give the cup size they want? Historically the common answer is that a cup size is about 100cc, more or less based on the size of the patient. The correlation between bra cup size and implant volumes has never been directly studied and compared.
In the May 2017 issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery a paper was published entitled ‘What Is the Standard Volume to Increase a Cup Size for Breast Augmentation Surgery? A Novel Three-Dimensional Computed Tomographic Approach’. The authors used five bra cup sizes from three different manufacturers to assess their volumes using linear measurements, water displacement and volume calculations from 3D CT reconstructions. In addition almost 80 breast augmentation patients were assessed comparing implant volume and patient questionnaires. Their reported results showed that amongst bra manufacturers an average volume of 135cc for each cup size increase was found. In patients the average volume increase per cup size was 138cc.
To no surprises the authors found that there was no standardization of cup sizes amongst the manufacturers studied. The authors conclude that a range of 130ccs to 150ccs is equivalent to a one cup size increase. Narrow bra widths need 130cc while larger bra widths need 150ccs.
While the size of the patient undergoing breast augmentation is well known to affect how the augmented breast will look, it is good to offer patients some general guidelines. Whether it is for a primary breast augmentation or for the patient changing implants for size reasons, the use of a 125cc to 150cc breast implant volume per cup size is vey helpful. For small women it is probably closer to 100cc while for larger women the use of 150ccs is more accurate.
Dr. Barry Eppley