Breast Implant Choices—and Breast Implant Sizes—Larger than in the Past

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When breast implants were first invented 50 years ago, there was only one manufacturer, one model, and only three sizes: 210 cc (about 7/8 cup), 270 cc, and 340 cc. The 340 cc model was nicknamed “The Burlesque,” and its inventors thought it would only be used “in very large women or certain burlesque queens or strippers desiring an exaggerated augmentation,” according to remarks they made at the 1964 plastic surgery convention where they officially introduced the device. Now, though, there are many different options for breast implants from three different manufacturers. Not only can you select from saline solution or silicone gel, you can select from three different breast implant profiles. The profile determines how much the breast implant projects forward for its volume. Shaped implants are also available in the cohesive gel implants, though we have yet to see how popular those will be. Breast implant size options have expanded as well. Breast implants are available in a wider variety of sizes, and many, many larger sizes than in the past. All Mentor’s breast implant lines size up to 800cc. Allergan also has several lines that also size up to 800 cc. Finally, Sientra, the third breast implant manufacturer, offers most of its lines up to 700 cc. So why are breast implants larger now than they used to be? Plastic surgeon Dr. James Baker offered a partial explanation for why this is: “Women are now taller with broader chest wall dimensions and larger frames than they had 30 years ago [when he began practice.]” Although this is certainly true, it is only part of the answer. There are other reasons for the change as well. We must acknowledge the role that breast implants play in forming women’s attitudes about what constitutes a “normal” breast size. Breast implants have helped create a society where the average breast size is larger than it used to be, so women who are considering breast implants to be normal have to use larger implants than in the past and in order to stand out with larger-than-average breasts, implants must be even larger still. Fortunately, the breast implants to allow them to do that are now available. To learn more about breast implants, please schedule a consultation with Dr. David A Bottger in Philadelphia.