Let’s (NOT) Talk Bra Cup Sizes

When considering breast enhancement surgery, it is natural to think in cup sizes. For instance, you might wear a B cup now, and want to go to a C cup. While that is useful information to share with your surgeon at your consultation, it’s important to realize that it is just a guideline and that implants don’t come in cup sizes. Breast implants are sized according to their volume in cubic centimeters (cc).

One of the first things to consider is that all “C”s are not created equal. A 32C is significantly smaller in volume than a 38C. Then there is variation in cup size by the manufacturer—a Bali 32C may be bigger or smaller than a Victoria’s Secret 32C. There is even variation in cup size with different type bras by the same manufacturer.

A 32C demi bra by Victoria’s Secret may fit, while a 32C pushup may not. So, while it’s useful to have an idea of the cup size you want, remember that there is no standardization of cup sizes.

Below is a photo of four C cup bras by the same manufacturer:

A group of bras

Now take a look at this chart designed to help you figure out your proper bra size:

Bra size chart

First, you measure around your chest, then measure around the breasts where they project the most. The difference gives you the cup size. It seems a bit confusing, right?

Now take a look at this chart:

Bra size chart

This chart gives an idea of what volume in ccs each cup size represents. The hard part comes when the patient is thinking in B, C, D, and the surgeon is thinking in ccs.

What has worked in my practice is to first talk to the patient and listen to what they want, look at pictures of what they might want to look like, and then actually try on some implants. An implant is placed into each cup of the bra, then with a tee shirt on, we get an idea if we’re in the right ballpark. We go up or down in size as needed. Often, the patient will turn to me at this point and say, “So, this is a C?” In response, I tell them if they like the way it looks in the mirror, that’s the one we use, and then find out what cup size it is when they go bra shopping after surgery.

We are usually fairly accurate in getting the size right in terms of patient satisfaction, and having done this for 20 years, I have a very good idea of what volume will make a patient a desired cup size. In the end, as long as the patient is happy with the result, and the size; then the letter, or cup size, really doesn’t matter. It’s just a guideline.

If you’re considering breast augmentation surgery, take the first step by scheduling your consultation today.

Time to Start Thinking About Summer

It’s hard to start thinking about summer and bathing suits already, but if you want to be ready, now is the time to start planning and doing.If you’re considering finally taking that leap and getting that mommy makeover or breast implants, then you have to consider how long the plastic surgery process will take from consultation to surgery, recovery, and time until the final results are evident. Assuming you want to be ready for the summer, here is a sort of timeline of procedures to get you bikini ready.


A woman in a bathing suit and sunglasses at the beach

Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. There is little downtime, little risk, and lots of reward, but the results are not instantaneous. When liposuction is performed, the tissues are infused with a lot of fluid. This helps with bruising, blood loss, and general contour. However, the tissues swell from the fluid and from the procedure itself. A day or two after liposuction you may look great; then you will probably swell. It’s usually not so much that you look larger than you did before but rather hard to tell that you had anything done. At six weeks you may start to notice your clothes fitting differently and start noticing changes in your appearance. It generally takes at least three months before you see the final results. So, liposuction should be done at least three to four months from the time you need to be recovered.

Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck, is another procedure that has a rather short initial recovery but rather long period until you see the final results. Usually, patients are out of work (desk jobs) for two weeks. There is a period of two to three months where the abdominal tissue will swell a bit at the end of the day. Spanx or other compression garments can conceal this, but who wants to wear Spanx at the beach? The other consideration is the recovery from the muscle repair; with most tummy tucks this is six to eight weeks with no heavy core activity. So, water skiing, jet skiing, etc., might be difficult even if you look fabulous. Summer timeline for tummy tucks: March to May.

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is the most flexible plastic surgery procedures on the summer timeline. Usually, a weekend recovery, or at most one to two weeks, is all that’s required. So, this can be done a week or two before vacation. If traveling a long distance, its always good to leave adequate time for recovery and healing. Other breast procedures, such as lifts and reductions, are also rather short in recovery time, and results are seen fairly soon after surgery, although the scars will take a full year to fully fade/mature. Breast procedures are year round on the summer timeline, as recovery and results can be very quick.

No matter your aesthetic goals for this summer or beyond, the first step is always a consultation at my office. Get in contact today to start this process, and together we can create a personalized timeline to fit your goals.

Understanding Your Implant Options, Part One: Saline vs. Silicone

People have very strong opinions on this topic and, unfortunately, most of the information on this topic is not based on facts. Understanding the history of the different types of implants may help shed some light on the topic.

The History of Silicone & Saline Implants

Woman preparing for breast augmentation surgery

The first silicone implant for breast augmentation was made in 1961, and the first saline implant in 1964. The silicone implant went through various changes for the next several decades in attempts to improve the longevity, feel, appearance, and texture. Saline implants were not used frequently, as the feel and look of the silicone was far superior. In 1992, the FDA placed a moratorium on the use of silicone implants, stating there was insufficient data proving their safety. Basically, the FDA was saying not to use these until we have a lot more research showing they are safe. At this time, saline implants were used in almost every case except for patients undergoing reconstruction or those involved in the clinical trials.

Concerns With Saline Options

Saline implants worked fine, but there were problems. Saline implants tend to show more ripples, so placement was almost always under the muscle. This requires slightly longer recovery, and over time the implants, in some patients, tend to shift down and out. This is perhaps due to the action of the muscle in combination with the viscosity of the saline. At any rate, pocket revisions for implants sliding off to the side of the chest were not uncommon. Because the muscle only covers a portion of the implant, ripples could be seen on the lateral or outer portion of the breast. The biggest downfall of saline implants is the rupture rate of 3-6 percent at three years, and 7-10 percent at 10 years. Saline implants can rupture without any cause, and it usually happens a week before a scheduled vacation. Joking, but its never convenient to wake up and discover your breast has gone flat. The rupture rate of silicone, by comparison, is less than 1 percent at 6 years.

Rise of Silicone Implants

In 2006, the FDA allowed the manufacture and use of silicone implants once again. The studies proving their safety were to continue for an additional 10 years. During this time, there were no studies that showed a correlation between silicone implants and any disease process or syndrome (chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, lupus, etc.). The silicone implants used today are vastly superior to the ones used back in the ’60s. The outer shell of the implant is pliable but very resistant to tearing or leakage. The biggest improvement is in the quality of the gel. All silicone implants made now have some form of cohesiveness. That is, the silicone gel isn’t a liquid that will leak out if the outer shell is damaged. There are gummy bear, memory gel, and cohesive gel implants that all have slightly different qualities, but basically, if the implant is damaged, the gel will stay within the shell. If pressure is applied to a damaged implant, the gel will come out of the implant and then return to the inside of the shell once the pressure is removed.

Silicone implants can be placed in front of the muscle or behind the muscle, depending on the amount of available breast tissue. If a patient has adequate tissue to cover the implant, then in front of the muscle is an excellent option. The recovery for this surgery is two to three days. In very thin patients with little breast tissue, the implant is placed behind the muscle.

The bottom line? Both saline and silicone implants will augment the breast. Silicone implants, in my opinion, are vastly superior to saline in terms of natural feel, appearance, and longevity.

For more answers to common questions about breast augmentation, visit our FAQ page. Or, to speak directly to Dr. Kinsley about your questions and concerns, schedule a consultation today.