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