How Big Can Saline Breast Implants Be Filled?

Q: Dear Dr. Eppley, I would like to replace my existing saline implants which are now 10 years old with new ones. The original size was 800cc shells filled to 960cc which I was told was the maximum fill at that time. My annual mammogram is coming up and I worry about my decade old implants failing under the pressure (yes I know it is a remote possibility, but I still am concerned). In doing a replacement, I want much larger implants. It would have to be done with either custom made implants or largely overfilling the largest saline breast implants that are made. In doing a replacement I would want a lot more volume than 960cc with as much as a 200% fill to give me more upper pole fullness and more projection. In effect a “mastopexyless” breast lift (had one masto, don’t want to do it again). There are several surgeons in US who are doing very large fills of 800cc saline shells at a patient request. Fills of 1400cc to as high as 2000cc are documented in various internet implant breast forums.

A:  While available at one time, custom breast implanrs are no longer made by any US manufacturer. Neither breast implant manufacturer will custom make any implant size at this time. The largest off-the-shelf saline implant are still 800cc of which the manufacturer recommended maximum fill is 960cc. (which you obviously know) The 800cc imlants only come in moderate plus projection. (Mentor) What any plastic surgeon is willing to fill to beyond the recommended fill is between the surgeon and the patient. Beyond the manufacturer’s recommended maximum fill, the patient risks losing the lifetime implant replacement warranty from the manufacturer. Nobody knows for sure how much overinflation affects the potential for deflation or rupture, although it may be fair to say that it has a negative influence. As the implant becomes highly overinflated it also becomes quite hard and unnatural feeling. These are all issues that a patient needs to consider when requesting and/or receiving high volume overfills.

I have heard rumors that the manufacturers have requested from the FDA approval to manudfacture and sell larger breast implant sizes than that which is currently available. (I can not verify that this is true) So larger implants with a base size over 1000ccs may be available in the future.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana


How Big Can I Get My Breast Implants Done?

Q: I had breast implants originally done about 8 or 9 years ago and am looking to have them redone. My existing breast implants are saline 600cc and I think I am between D and DD depending on the bra. I want them increased but not sure if that is something you do? I know i would like to be DDD cup. I am a body builder and I think it would balance my shape better. Any information back would be great!!

A: Ideally, the size of a breast implant should stay within the base diameter of one’s breast. This produces the most natural looking result and also avoids the potential of the implants bottoming out over time due to loss of tissue support. That being said, some women prefer to go larger than these parameters. While some plastic surgeons have objections to that desire, my feeling is that as long as one realizes there may be a price to be paid long-term with bigger sizes (eventual removal and downsizing with breast skin reduction), then I have no objection.

Since you already have 600cc implants in place, the largest available implants are 800cc, either saline or silicone. At this size increase, that represents a 33% size increase. Saline implants can be further filled up to 960cc, representing an approximate 50% increase over your current size. At these size increases, one should definitely go with a high profile implant to get the base diameter as narrow as possible. Whether these sizes are appropriate are based on your height and chest width and breast augmentation size desires.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

How Big of a Breast Implant Can I Get?

Q: I had breast implants done about 8 to 9 years ago and am looking to have them redone. Thr original size was 600cc implants. I am between D and DD cup size I think…but it depends on the bra.  I want them increased but not sure if that is something you do? I know I would like to be DDD cup. I am a body builder as a hobby. I think it would balance my shape better.

A: Breast implant size is a personal choice and no one can really say what size someone should or should not be. Breast implants of 600cc size can be big or not so big depending upon whose chest they are on. For a small person this could be fairly large, for a bigger and broader-chested woman this may only be average looking in size. Most women are interested in having breasts that are in proportion to the size of their body but a few women want more than that.

Within reason, just about any breast implant size can be put in any patient. Whether that final size is in or out of proportion, or what someone really desires, is up to the patient to judge. In my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice, I try and accomodate a woman’s breast implant size desires. That being said, women should know that there are potential long-term consequences for having large breast implants. (i.e., extreme breast augmentation) Over time, the weight and size of the implant may cause tissues to stretch out and a ‘bottoming out’ of the implant may occur as the implant falls on the chest wall. This is known as loss of tissue support. This is why as a general rule it is wise to keep the base width size of the implant within the natural breast base width. Also remember, it is easy to go up in size without significant scar consequences. Should one day the desire arises to go smaller, there will be significant breast scars to remove and tighten the loose skin that the implant has created.

Dr. Barry Eppley