Breast size and measurement

You might know the difference between short, tall and grande at Starbucks, but have you ever thought about that other cup size – your breasts? 

It’s something many – if not most – women are perhaps guilty of… wearing the wrong-sized bra for our body. Wearing the right one can transform posture, not to mention comfort and confidence, so if you’re taking steps towards having augmentation surgery, it’s even more important to get this right for your new breasts.  

Sarah Grantham, our cosmetics sister, says: “When you go ahead with breast augmentation surgery, one of the first things you’ll no doubt think about is what size and shape you’ll have following the procedure. 

“There is a lot of information to take in about this particular topic, never mind going for surgery in general, and that’s what we’re here for – to be with you at every step of your journey. 

“With that in mind, I am here to talk about cup size, bras, and about getting the best implants for your body – before you have perhaps even made the call to St Hugh’s Hospital. Having as much information as possible, as early on as possible, is what we are all about.” 

The first thing to be aware of, explains Sarah, is that implants are measured using cubic centimetres (cc) – and are not measured by cup size. “They are not identical,” she continues, “so it’s no good comparing them to cup sizes. 

“If you’ve been professionally fitted for a bra, you’ll know you are measured around your rib cage (band size) and on the fullest part of your breasts (cup size). The band measurement is subtracted from the bust measurement, and the difference in inches is your cup size. For example, if you measure a difference of three inches then you’re a B cup; a difference of nine inches is FF. 

“But everyone is different, especially retailers and how their bras are made, so you can see why coming into St Hugh’s Hospital and saying you’d like to be a double F cup will only give us a very vague idea of how you want your breasts to look. 

“The same goes with implants. Asking for a certain cc in an implant will again only give an idea of the outcome, as it really does differ from person to person – and also depends on what size your bust currently is. 

“That’s why at the consultation stage you will sample different implants using special sizing kits to really get a feel for what you’re looking at.” 

Sarah says if you want to get ahead of the game before a consultation, you can do what’s known as the ‘rice test’. Using a sports bra that’s the right band size for you but the cup size you think you’d like to be, and get an old sock or use a food bag and fill with rice. One ounce of rice equates to 30cc in implant terms. Don’t pack the rice in too much and make sure there’s no air inside, either. Wear these inside your bigger cup bra and experiment with different amounts of rice to see which feels and looks best for you. 

“As well as size,” says Sarah, “there’s shape to consider too. Implants come in two shapes – round and teardrop. Round is as described – they create round and well-proportioned breasts. Teardrop-shaped implants are oval and give more flexibility for the surgeon to match them to your body as they’re considered more anatomically correct.  

“Then there are two types of implant – saline and silicone. This is where, among many other things, your consultant will discuss what’s best for you. 

“In short, your consultation will go through everything you need to know about the technicalities of the procedure, but also about the implants that will best suit you and your lifestyle, right down to the sports you might do, and the clothes you wear. This gives you the absolute best chance of getting the results you desire.” 

 Here are Sarah’s tips for getting the best out of a breast augmentation consultation: 

  • Tell us what you don’t like about particular breast shapes and sizes, as well as what you do like. 
  • Bring photos of women who have the bust you like. 
  • Be honest with yourself about what will work for you and your body shape. Look for examples of women who are of similar build to you. 
  • Ask to see before and after photos of previous patients. 
  • Listen to what the surgeon is recommending for you – even if it goes against what you originally envisaged. 
  • Get a second opinion if you’re not happy with the outcome but ALWAYS approach a reputable surgeon. 

“As you will have gathered, this really isn’t a one-size-fits-all procedure,” Sarah concludes.  
“We are here to help you make the right decision for yourself, your body, and your lifestyle.” 

Find out more about what St Hugh’s Hospital can offer you at or by phoning 01472 251100.