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What Is the Standard Volume to Increase a Cup Size for Breast Augmentation Surgery? A Novel Three-Dimensional Computed Tomographic Approach

King, Nina-Marie M.B.B.S.; Lovric, Vedran Ph.D.; Parr, William C. H. Ph.D.; Walsh, W. R. Ph.D.; Moradi, Pouria F.R.A.C.S. (Plast. Surg.)

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: May 2017 - Volume 139 - Issue 5 - p 1084–1089
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000003247
Cosmetic: Original Articles
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Background: Breast augmentation surgery poses many challenges, and meeting the patient’s expectations is one of the most important. Previous reports equate 100 cc to a one-cup-size increase; however, no studies have confirmed this between commercially available bras. The aim of this study was to identify the volume increase between cup sizes across different brands and the relationship with implant selection.

Methods: Five bra cup sizes from three different companies were analyzed for their volume capacity. Three methods were used to calculate the volume of the bras: (1) linear measurements; (2) volume measurement by means of water displacement; and (3) volume calculation after three-dimensional reconstruction of serial radiographic data (computed tomography). The clinical arm consisted of 79 patients who underwent breast augmentation surgery from February 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016. Answers from a short questionnaire in combination with the implant volume were analyzed.

Results: Across all three brands, the interval volume increase varied between sizes, but not all were above 100 cc. There was some variation in the volume capacity of the same cup size among the different brands. The average incremental increase in bra cup size across all three brands in the laboratory arm was 135 cc. The mean volume increase per cup size was 138.23 cc in the clinical arm.

Conclusions: This article confirms that there is no standardization within the bra manufacturing industry. On the basis of this study, patients should be advised that 130 to 150 cc equates to a one-cup-size increase. Bras with narrower band widths need 130 cc and wider band widths require 150 cc to increase one cup size.

Randwick, New South Wales, Australia

From Prince of Wales Hospital; and the Surgical and Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, Prince of Wales Clinical School, University of New South Wales.

Received for publication February 8, 2016; accepted October 28, 2016.

Presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, in Singapore, May 5 through May 9, 2014; the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons Plastic Surgery Congress, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, May 6 through 10, 2015; and the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Annual Conference, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, October 22 through 25, 2015, and winner of Best Short Talks on Cosmetic Surgery presentation.

Disclosure: None of the authors has any financial or commercial associations that might create a conflict of interest associated with this project. No external funding was obtained.

A “Hot Topic Video” by Editor-in-Chief Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., accompanies this article. Go to and click on “Plastic Surgery Hot Topics” in the “Digital Media” tab to watch. On the iPad, tap on the Hot Topics icon.

Nina-Marie King, M.B.B.S., P.O. Box 583, Aitkenvale Bc, Queensland 4814, Australia,

©2017American Society of Plastic Surgeons