FAQs: Breast Tissue – Breast Augmentation & Breast Implants

How Breast Tissue Affects Size in Breast Augmentation

Courtesy of John Tebbetts, MD, FACS, Dallas, TX

This is an excerpt from Dr. Tebbetts book, The Best Breast 2:

One measurement of the size of a breast implant is the volume (amount of filler) in the implant measured in cubic centimeters (ccs). Do you know how much a cc is? How much is 300 cc? How many cc are your breasts right now? How many cc are in a B cup? How many ccs in a C cup? If you are thinking about trying to define what you want in terms of ccs, you should know the answers to all these questions. Fact is, some of these questions don’t have an answer, at least not one correct answer. The answer to some of the questions is “It depends.”

Join a conversation with a group of women discussing their breast implants, and you might hear, “I have 300 cc implants, and I’m a C cup.” Another woman responds, “How can that be? I have 300 cc implants, and I’m a D cup.” They could both be correct. The message? A certain implant size in ccs does not guarantee a certain cup size. Why?

When teaching courses to surgeons, I have frequently asked the question, how many ccs does it take to produce a C cup breast? Invariably, one or more surgeons will respond with a specific number of ccs that will predictably produce a certain cup size breast, usually a less experienced surgeon. Also invariably, another surgeon will answer correctly by pointing out the following:

An augmented breast consists of the skin envelope plus the implant plus whatever breast tissue the woman had before the breast augmentation. Expressed as a formula for surgeons:

Augmentation result = envelope + Parenchyma (breast tissue) + Implant

Now you can answer the question of how, if both women described above had 300 cc implants, one could have a C cup breast and the other a D cup breast. The woman who ended up having a D cup breast after augmentation had more breast tissue before her breast augmentation compared to the woman who ended up with a C cup breast.

The final size of the breast depends on the amount of breast tissue the woman had prior to surgery plus the size of the implant that was placed in the breast. So a woman who has more breast tissue to begin with needs fewer cc in an implant (smaller) to get to a C cup breast compared to another woman who had less breast tissue to begin with, and will need a larger implant to get to a C cup breast. If this concept is confusing, read it again until it makes sense.

Now you know why a certain size implant (in cc) does not make a specific cup size breast!

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