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What size implant is too big?

When considering breast augmentation, one of the most common questions is “what size implant should I get?” There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as the right implant size depends on your body proportions, goals, and personal preferences. However, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind when trying to determine if a potential implant size might be too large for your frame.

Consider Your Body Type and Measurements

The size and shape of your natural breasts is a key factor in choosing the optimal implant size. Someone who currently has small, petite breasts will usually want to go slightly bigger to achieve their desired look, while someone with a naturally full bust may only need a small increase in size. Here are some general recommendations based on body type:

Petite Frame

If you have a slim, petite frame, excessively large implants have the potential to look disproportionate. As a general guideline, a petite frame usually looks best with an implant of less than 350cc. Going bigger than this can create an artificial, overly-enhanced look.

Average Frame

The average woman has room for a moderate implant size in the range of 350-450cc without looking disproportionate. This provides a noticeable increase in breast size while still appearing natural.

Athletic/Muscular Build

Women with an athletic or muscular build tend to have broader shoulders and ribs, creating more room for larger implants. Moderate to high profile implants in the 450-600cc range usually complement this body type well.

Plus Size

Fuller-figured women can generally accommodate larger implant sizes due to their natural body proportions. For plus size women, implants in the range of 450-700cc commonly achieve an aesthetically pleasing augmentation.


Your height is another factor that impacts optimal implant size. Taller women generally have more leeway to go bigger without appearing top-heavy, while shorter women run the risk of overwhelming their frame with excessively large implants.

As a general guideline, here are typical implant size ranges based on height:

Height Implant Size Range
Under 5’2″ 200-375cc
5’2″ to 5’7″ 300-450cc
Over 5’7″ 350-600+cc

Consider Your Breast Dimensions

In addition to your height and body frame, the specific dimensions of your natural breasts should guide your implant sizing. Key measurements include:

Base width: The horizontal width of your breast determines the width of the implant that will fit proportionally. Wider breasts can accommodate larger, wider implants.

Breast projection: The amount your natural breasts project off the chest wall impacts optimal implant profile. Less breast projection does well with moderate or high profile options, while substantial natural projection may only need a low-profile style to achieve proportionate fullness.

Tissue quality: Women with more glandular breast tissue and density can conceal larger implants more seamlessly than those with high adipose content. Leaner tissue blends with the implant edges better and disguises upper pole fullness.

Examine your unique breast characteristics and choose an implant size tailored accordingly. Have realistic expectations for the amount of increase your particular anatomy can accommodate.

Consider Your Lifestyle and Activities

Your day-to-day activities and athletic pursuits should also influence your size choice. Opt for a size that feels comfortable for your lifestyle. For example:

– Physically demanding job: Those with active jobs may want a smaller implant that doesn’t get in the way.

– Avid exerciser: Athletes should select an implant that feels stable during their sports. Consider potential issues like discomfort from intense bouncing.

– Play musical instrument: Musicians should trial positions with weighted bags in their bra to ensure implants won’t hinder playing.

– Social lifestyle: Those with an active social life may prioritize enhanced cleavage/curves over absolute size.

Think about your unique activities and needs when determining the maximum size you can comfortably accommodate.

Set Realistic Goals

It’s important to have clear aesthetic goals for your augmentation results, but also keep them grounded in reality. Examples of unrealistic goals include:

– Expecting to go from completely flat to extremely busty with a single procedure.

– Seeking a highly disproportionate implant size relative to your body.

– Wanting exaggerated porn star or Playboy model proportions that are out of scale.

– Trying to replicate a celebrity’s figure without acknowledging differences in your underlying anatomy.

Discuss reasonable expectations for your frame with an experienced, reputable surgeon. They can help guide ideal implant dimensions to fulfill your goals while avoiding a potentially excessive size.

Avoid Focusing Solely on Cup Size

While cup size can offer a starting point for determining your goals, it shouldn’t be the sole focus when choosing implant dimensions. Two women can wear the same bra cup size but have very different actual implant volumes based on their underlying measurements.

Cup size is determined by the difference between band size and bust measurement, not absolute breast volume. It will also vary across bra brands and styles. Rather than fixating on a desired letter, communicate your aesthetic goals and let your surgeon recommend the most suitable implant size.

Consider Potential Drawbacks of Overly Large Implants

While personal preferences for size vary, choosing disproportionately large implants can create problems including:

– Visible, palpable implant edges – The larger the implant, the more likely its edges may be visible under your skin. This distorts cleavage contours.

– Capsular contracture – Excessive pressure from oversized implants increases complication risks like capsular contracture, where scar tissue visibly contracts around the implant.

– Implant displacement – Large, heavy implants can begin riding too high or dropping too low over time if the overfilled pocket stretches.

– Posture changes – The strain of heavy breasts pulling on muscles can lead to neck, shoulder and back pain, along with posture changes.

– Activity limitations – Overly large implants not supported well may cause discomfort during sports and make physical pursuits more difficult.

– Weight concerns – Large implants can feel cumbersome and make women hyper-aware of their bust size.

To avoid drawbacks like these, choose the largest size you can comfortably integrate into your activities and anatomy. Just because an extremely sizable implant is available doesn’t mean it’s automatically right for you.

Trust Your Surgeon’s Judgement

While personal preferences are important, a board-certified plastic surgeon has an objective eye and extensive experience determining appropriate implant sizing. Although you may think you want very large implants, your surgeon can advise if that size range would truly complement your body rather than overwhelm it.

Resist pressure to just agree to the maximum size you request without thoughtful guidance. A trustworthy surgeon has your best interests in mind and will be honest about risks, limitations and proportional aesthetics given your anatomy. Discuss goals thoroughly but remain open to their sizing recommendations.

Try Sizers During Your Consultation

The most reliable way to gauge what specific cc volumes look like on your frame is by trying implant sizers during an in-person consultation. Your surgeon has sizer sets that you can place in a bra and evaluate in front of a mirror.

Seeing and feeling the 3D effect of different sizes gives you a better idea of realistic dimensions for your body. Sizers provide a personalized basis for determining if you are asking for implants that are excessively large or disproportionate.

Start Smaller Than Your Maximum Goal Size

Since it’s easier to go bigger later than to downsize once implants are placed, err on the conservative side when choosing your initial size. Select the largest implants you’re fairly certain will integrate smoothly into your anatomy without going overboard.

Starting small-to-moderate leaves you room to revise and increase volume later if you find you want more fullness. Jumping straight to your maximum size goal often backfires, leaving you with overfilled implants that are harder to correct.

Wait 3-6 Months Between Procedures

If you do opt to size up your implants beyond your original volume, wait at least 3-6 months between surgeries. This allows your tissues to normalize, pockets to stabilize and swelling to resolve.Quickly reoperating before you’ve fully healed puts you at greater risk of complications. Give your body proper recovery time to adapt before reassessing implant size needs.

Listen to Your Body During Recovery

Pay close attention to how your body feels as you heal from your initial surgery. Signs of excessive implant size may include:

– Ongoing strain, pulling sensations or discomfort in the chest area

– Bra straps painfully digging into shoulders

– Persistent tightness, pressure or breathlessness

– Headaches or neck pain from the weight of your breasts

If large implants make normal daily functions uncomfortable, have a discussion with your surgeon about potential downsizing. Your long-term quality of life should take priority over maintaining maximum size.


The ideal implant size is highly personalized for each woman’s anatomy, lifestyle factors and aesthetic vision. While there are no absolute cutoffs dictating what volume is universally too large, maintaining perspective about proportionality is key. Be aware of drawbacks like visible implant edges, posture changes and activity limitations as size increases. Take a balanced approach by communicating your goals clearly, listening to your surgeon’s experience and starting conservatively. With reasonable expectations and proper recovery between surgeries, you can achieve your desired augmentation results over time through a thoughtful, safe process.