The Goldilocks Implant: The Importance of Width in Breast Augmentation

The Goldilocks Implant: The Importance of Width in Breast Augmentation

Guest post by Dr Vincent Marin from Marin Aesthetics.

“What CC implants are you going to use Dr. Marin?” If I had a dollar for every time I was asked that question, I could almost retire. Well, not quite, but it sure feels that way. And nearly every woman undergoing breast augmentation has the same question.

The real answer to the most frequently asked question in plastic surgery is “it depends!” It is the way in which we all tend to communicate about breast augmentation because it is a concrete number. Women always ask of their friends after undergoing a surgery, “how many CCs?” But nobody follows up with - how big were you to start? Did you have kids? What were your breast measurements? Did you have any chest wall asymmetry? Which profile did you choose? Did you have saline or silicone? All of these things and countless more impact how an implant looks on a woman’s body.

So the real question to be asking is “are you happy with how your breasts turned out?” Do you feel your doctor was aware of your goals and did he/she meet them? How was the communication between you and your doctor?

Everyone understands the issues with “too big” an implant, but “too small” looks just as unnatural. The biggest issue is the discrepancy between the breast width and that of the implant. The main issue with breast width is that the implant width must at least be the width of the pre-op breast, and frequently slightly wider. That is because most women desiring a breast augmentation are deficient in tissue, especially in the central chest. The implant, when appropriately sized, can be instrumental in enhancing the cleavage zone - normally the most important aspect of any breast augmentation.

The biggest issue with too small implant, is that it will not enhance the cleavage zone and leaves patients with a larger space or gap between the breasts. Few patients will accept this result if it can be prevented.

Trusted surgeons-Implant placement Explained

Some surgeons will try and place smaller, narrower implants toward the center of the breast to avoid a wide space between the breasts. However, if you use that technique, the lateral portion of the breast is inadequately filled, frequently leaving the nipple and areola on the outer aspect of the breast - pointing toward the sides. Another unacceptable cosmetic result.

trusted surgeons unacceptable results

Too wide an implant will frequently make women feel they “look heavy.” Clothes that flatter their figure and bras that “fit” are harder to find and frequently frustrate women eventually prompting them to consider downsizing to something more balanced to their body. Thus, another surgery.

Implant Profiles

Implants not only come in specific CCs but also different profiles. The low profile tends to be the most “natural” with a wider, less projecting appearance and the extra high profile will produce a much more “showy” and “augmented” appearance. In essence, it allows us to get more volume into a more narrow space.


allergan implant profiles

During your consultation, Dr. Marin will determine what the ideal width is for your breast by taking measurements of your body. This is not necessarily the specific CCs, but how wide the base of the breast is - and should be. The measurements take into account your breast width and desired changes to the overall breast shape. Your aesthetic goals about the type of breast shape you’d prefer factors into how we then choose the profile. This is normally accomplished through looking a photograph of breasts that you find to be attractive.

To better understand the relationship between profile, width and CCs, take a look at this table where the CCs are relatively constant and the width gets narrower as the profile (or projection) increases.

Low profile Low Plus profile Moderate profile High Profile Extra High Profile
410 cc 400 cc 405 cc 415 cc 400 cc
15 cm 14 cm 13.25 12.5 cm

An example:

If Dr. Marin determined that roughly 12 cm as your ideal breast width for your body - you will then have the option of roughly the following implants within the different profiles - not that the CCs increase with the profile with the width being consistent:

Low profile Low Plus profile Moderate profile High Profile Extra High Profile
230 cc 250 cc 310 cc 365 cc 445 cc
12 cm 12 cm 12 cm 12 cm 12 cm

As you progress in implant profile, the CCs and a projection (how far the implant extends from the chest) increase giving a more “augmented” look. Thus, patients are able to choose the shape and we can always ensure the proper balance for a patient’s body.

implant projection - trusted surgeons

High heel analogy

Think of this concept in a way many women fully understand - shoes! If you are a size 7 shoe, no matter what you buy (on average) you are a size seven. That never changes. However, the heel you choose will be completely your choice. The low profile is like a flat that progresses through to a kitten heel, a high heel and then a stiletto. But, your size or width will always be the most important factor. Not CCs! Much like shoes. However, you don’t always want to be on the extremes as this can be an issue as your daily life changes from work to school to working out or kids. Life is in constant flux.

The Goldilocks Result - or the “Just Right” Implant

Once we find the intersection of what your body “needs” and what your heart “desires”, we can find the implant that is perfect for you. Ideally this will result in an appropriate balance to the chest and breasts with the profile designed to give you the look that you desire. Frequently, we will employ different volumes or even profiles depending upon preexisting asymmetry that you may or may not have. Our goals are enhancing the cleavage with enough extension to the side to fully enhance the entire breast. The end projection comes from your ultimate goal in overall breast shape. The CCs are just a by-product of these dimensions and your desires. So too is the cup size. Thus, in the end we don't care about the specific CCs used or the cup size you wear, just that you are thrilled with what you see in the mirror.

Dr Vincent P Marin - Trusted Surgeons

To find out if you are a good candidate for breast augmentation, call our plastic surgery center in San Diego at 858-638-9800 to schedule a consultation. We can help you answer all of your questions to find out if this procedure is right for you!

About – Dr Vincent Marin, M.D., F.A.C.S.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Clinic: 9834 Genesee Ave #328 La Jolla, CA 92037

Phone: 858-638-9800

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