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Choosing the Right Cup Size for Your Breast Augmentation

Choosing the Right Cup Size for Your Breast Augmentation

When you decide to have breast augmentation surgery, one of the first things you’ll think about is the potential size and shape of your new breasts. As there’s a lot of information to consider, we’ve put together a guide to help you choose the right implants for your body, so you’ll have no regrets later.


Breast implant size is measured in ccs, not cup size

It’s important to know how breast implant size relates to cup size, as they’re not quite the same.

When you’re fitted for a bra, you’ll be measured:

  • around your rib cage, under your breasts (your band size)
  • around the fullest part of your breasts (your bust size)

Subtract the band size from the bust size and the difference in inches is your cup size. In other words, it’s a figure to show how much bigger your breasts are than your rib cage.

Difference between band size and bust sizeCup size
Less than 1 inchAA
1 inchA
2 inchesB
3 inchesC
4 inchesD
5 inchesDD
6 inchesE
7 inchesF
8 inchesFF
9 inchesG

Cup sizes range from AA to L in the UK and each cup size goes up by one inch, as shown in the table.

Although cup sizes are meant to offer a standard guide, they can actually vary quite widely between high-street shops. A D‑cup in Marks and Spencer’s will be different to a D-cup in John Lewis, for example.

Telling your surgeon you’d like D-cup breasts gives them a vague idea of the size you want, but it will only be vague.

If you’ve done some research into implants, you’ll have come across the term ‘cc’ already. It stands for cubic centimetres and is how an implant’s size (its volume) is measured. Think of volume as the amount of artificial breast tissue the implant would provide.

As a very general guide, going up one cup size equates to a 130–150cc increase in the size of your breasts.

But in the same way that referring to cup size doesn’t properly convey how your breast augmentation would look, neither does talking purely in ccs. The effect of any implant will vary from patient to patient, and will depend on the current size of your breasts and your stature.

Trying different sizes of implant

When you attend a consultation, your surgeon will allow you to sample different-sized implants by wearing them in your bra. They have special implant sizing kits for this purpose. If you want to get a feel for the size you’d like before you visit your surgeon, you can try the rice test.

The rice test

  1. Put on a sports bra that fits your chest size but is the cup size you think you’d like to be (for example, if you’re 32B and want to go up approximately two cup sizes, put on a 32D).
  2. Fill freezer/sandwich bags or an old stocking with different volumes of rice. One ounce of rice is 30cc. Make sure there’s no air in the bags and don’t pack the rice in too tightly.
  3. Wear these in your bra with different clothes to see which one looks and feels best.

A good range of sizes to try is 225cc, 250cc, 275cc, 300cc etc. up to the size you prefer. Your surgeon should be able to tell you the best range for you.


Breast implants come in two shapes, round and teardrop.

Round implants are the traditional shape and the choice for most women because of how they create round and well-proportioned breasts. Teardrop implants come in a range of teardrop (oval) shapes, which gives the surgeon greater flexibility in matching the implant to your body and the shape of breast you want.

Round implantsCreate round and well-proportioned breasts Allow for a smooth implant shell to be used, which avoids rippling in the skin More fluid in their shape, with more natural movement and position
Teardrop implantsConsidered more anatomically correct Great flexibility in shape means they can fit any woman’s breast and body type Cohesive silicone gel enables the implant to better hold its shape

There are two types of implant: saline (filled with saltwater) and silicone (filled with silicone gel). Your surgeon will advise you on your options for different shapes of implant and whether saline or silicone would be the best choice.

Your consultation with your surgeon

When you meet with your surgeon, you’ll discuss:

  • Your current breast size
  • Your surgeon will take measurements such as the width of your chest and shoulders and the base width of your breasts (from where your breast slopes upward in your cleavage to your breast’s outside curve). This is the widest implant your body will allow without causing you problems. Ideally, your implants should be a little narrower than your breast.
  • The amount of breast tissue you have to cover an implant
  • If you’re slim and have small breasts, you might not have enough skin to cover the implant, which can stretch the skin over time and cause it to ripple. Also, large breast implants on lean women can lead to backache further down the line.
  • If you’re tall and broad-shouldered, you’re likely to need a larger volume of implant than if you were petite with narrow shoulders. Having large implants on a small frame means your chest needs to be wide enough to accommodate the implant. If it isn’t, the implant could be visible in your armpit area and your breasts will look out of proportion to the rest of your body.
  • What size implant will best suit you
  • How active your lifestyle is and whether the implants you choose will affect activities such as sports or exercise
  • Whether the size you choose will affect what clothes you wear

The following tips will help you get the most out of your consultation time with the surgeon:

  • It’s important to express exactly what you don’t like about particular breast shapes as well as what you do like.
  • Arm yourself with pictures of women who have the size and shape of breasts that you’d like. But be realistic! Try and stick to pictures of women who are similar in height and body shape as you. If you’re short and curvy, you’re likely to be disappointed if you’re modelling yourself on a tall and thin supermodel.
  • As mentioned, implants come in different shapes and sizes so it really isn’t a one-size-fits-all procedure. Ask your surgeon to show you before and after pictures of their previous patients and familiarise yourself with the type of implant that would be used to create each look.
  • Listen to your surgeon’s advice and recommendations. If they regularly perform this type of surgery, they’ll know exactly what will and what won’t work. As much as they’ll want to provide you with your dream breasts, they may have concerns about the success of the surgery if you’re asking for an extreme change.
  • If you’re really not happy with your surgeon’s recommendations, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. But make sure that you only approach reputable surgeons, as unfortunately there are numerous individuals operating in cosmetic surgery who will be happy to go against sensible medical practice to get your business.

Ultimately, you should make the right decision for your size, shape and lifestyle. A good surgeon will discuss what will and won’t work for your frame so you can be confident the size you choose will look natural and feel comfortable.