One of the first questions that many patients ask Dr. Esmailian at his Orange County office is: “What size implant should I choose?” When choosing your breast implant size, Dr. Esmailian will need to take into account your height, body frame, weight, hip-width, current breast volume, and shoulder-width into consideration. He will measure your chest, nipple-areola complex (its size and position on the breast), the level of your breast droop (if any), and your natural breast size. Each of these factors helps determine which implant size will provide you with the results you desire.


If you want natural-looking results, you need to think about shape and proportion as opposed to cup size. The cup size for breast augmentation patients is subjective because bra manufacturer sizes and the way bras are worn vary.

While some believe that the volume of an implant is comparable to a particular cup size, this is a misconception. Implant size is based on the amount of gel or fluid (measured in cubic centimeters (cc)) within the implant itself. Keep in mind that as implant volume increases, it will affect your overall body proportions. Therefore, an individual who is 5’1” tall and petite needs a smaller implant size than an individual with broad hips and shoulders who stands 5’8” tall.

Before & After Breast Augmentation

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One issue that causes much confusion is cleavage. Many patients believe that increasing their breast size will give them more cleavage. However, the amount of cleavage you have is determined by the width and shape of your chest as well as by how close your breasts are to one another. If you have a narrow chest and your breasts are close together, even a small implant can give you great cleavage. On the other hand, if you have a wide chest and there is a substantial space between your breasts, you will enjoy fuller breasts, but additional cleavage will be more difficult to obtain. In certain cases, additional shaping can be performed, and an appropriate implant diameter can be chosen to help amplify cleavage. Following your breast augmentation, you can purchase a bra designed to give you even greater cleavage if desired.


The Picture Test

Look at the before and after breast augmentation photos on Dr. Esmailian’s website. Find a before photo of a patient who has breast characteristics and physical traits that are similar to yours. Although the implant size that you desire cannot actually be determined by viewing photos of someone else, you can find a photo that resembles the look you desire. This gives Dr. Esmailian insight into what you would like him to accomplish with your breast augmentation.

The Rice Test

You can “try on” various breast sizes at home by performing the Rice Test. This process allows you to determine what looks too big and what seems too small for you. Although Dr. Esmailian does have various implant sizers that you can try on in his Orange County office, the Rice Test is a great starting point. In addition, the Rice Test is performed at home, allowing you to take your time and ponder your options.

You will need:

  • At least one pair of knee-high nylons
  • Dry rice
  • Measuring cups (1 cup and 1/4 cup)
  • A sports bra (without padding or an underwire)
  • Various types of clothing (formal dress, cocktail dress, form-fitting t-shirts,
    favorite tops, etc.)
  • A mirror that allows you to see your entire figure

How to do the Rice Test:

  1. Take a pair of knee-high nylons (you should avoid using nylons that offer additional support as well as knee-highs that have a reinforced toe) and fill each nylon with 1 ½ cups of rice.
  2. Tie a knot on the top of each nylon, approximately 3 inches above the rice.
  3. Shape the rice-filled nylons into patties. They must be as even as possible in projection and as large as your natural breast circumferential base.
  4. Put the sports bra on and insert the pre-formed rice patties.
  5. Try on the different outfits and tops you have gathered.
  6. If you are not sure about a size, take a photo of yourself. After taking several photos of yourself in various-sized rice patties, you can compare them to one another. Ideally, take each photo wearing the same clothing item. This will make comparing the sizes easier.
  7. You can add or remove the rice by ¼ cup at a time and then try the clothing on again until you are happy with the way your breasts look.
  8. Once you determine which sized rice patties you think look the best, bring them with you to your next appointment with Dr. Esmailian at his office in Orange County. He can use these to help determine your implant size. Understand that the “look” of the rice will not resemble your final breast shape, but it does give a good indication of volume.
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During your consultation, which is generally two weeks before the scheduled surgery, Dr. Esmailian will review the photos you bring in, as well as the results of the Rice Test. At this point, the Mentor Volume Sizing System is used to solidify your implant volume and to finalize the look you are striving for. Patients are very content after this visit with Dr. Esmailian and feel that they have made the correct choice with their breast implant sizing.


Consider how you would like to be perceived. Some women prefer larger breasts than would be expected for their frames. Still, others prefer a more natural-looking breast augmentation result. If you are an athlete or you enjoy running, make sure that the breast implants you choose will not interfere with your regular fitness routine.

Avoid choosing an implant size based on someone else’s input. For example, if a friend of yours had a breast augmentation procedure and chose an implant size of 350cc, even if her body frame is similar to yours, it is important to be open to the various implant options you have available. By considering all of the options, chances are you will find the breast implant size that is perfect for you.

Although Dr. Esmailian may make recommendations, the final decision as to the implant size you receive is yours alone. The most important factor is not what size implant you end up with, but how happy you are with the way that you look after your breast augmentation procedure with Orange County’s top plastic surgeon Dr. Esmailian.


Every manufacturer has their own nomenclature for the implant profiles. An implant profile determines how much projection is obtained but also how wide or narrow the implant is. Let us take the arbitrary implant size of 400 cc. A 400 cc implant in a high profile will be narrower than a moderate plus profile implant; however, the high profile implant will be more projecting.

The projection will determine how much fullness the patient will have in the upper part of the breast (upper pole). Again, depending on the implant company, they will name their implants differently, for example: Extra full = Ultra High, Full = High, Moderate = Moderate Plus, and so forth. Dr. Esmailian will carefully guide you through the intricacies of different implant profiles to determine the best fit for your body.

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Sizing is obviously an important aspect in deciding what works best and determining your ideal look. We perform measurements, evaluate the skin envelope elasticity, look at photos, look at what you came up with during the Rice Test, look at diagrams, and finally use the Mentor Volume Sizing System.

We obviously listen and discuss exactly what you want and don’t want so that we can deliver the expected results. Your best path to determine what size works and how big you can go would be to seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options. Make certain the surgeon you choose has a great deal of experience in breast implant surgeries.

If you reside in or around Orange County and you want to learn more about the procedures we offer, please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Farbod Esmailian. If you prefer, we also have an online contact form to request a consultation.

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