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The Rice Test to Determine Size


One way to test drive size is to buy a bra size you would like to be, and then stuff it and live with it for a few days.  Bring the bra with you when consulting with your plastic surgeon and place implants in the bra to better determine your desired implant size.  Most plastic surgeons will have implants that you can see what would look right on you. 

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons have found that an average of 189ccs. of saline is needed to bring most patients up one cup size. 

Typically, breast implants do not appear as large as natural breast tissue.  With implants size and how they appear under clothing, typically they can look almost a full cup size smaller, depending on what you are wearing.  Trying the rice test at home with zip-lock baggies will help you see for yourself what size will be an appropriate size for you.




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How to do the "Rice Test"

The rice test is at best aguesstimate of what you might achieve with a certain size.

"While these amounts help achieve the desired size, they are not exact and that differences may occur because of other variables, such as chest wall size, breast tissue and the tissue envelope size."

(source: Breast Augmentation Patients Try Implants on for Size - ASPS)

You can do this test at home with either zip-lock baggies or knee high hose, and fill them with either raw rice or instant mash potatoes/oatmeal.



                                                      Approximate Rice Test Chart

Amount of Rice

Implant Volume Approximate Size
(cubic centimeters)

0.53 cup

125 cc

0.63 cup

150 cc

0.74 cup

175 cc

0.85 cup

200 cc

0.95 cup

225 cc

1.06 cups

250 cc

1.16 cups

275 cc

1.27 cups

300 cc

1.37 cups

325 cc

1.48 cups

350 cc

1.59 cups

375 cc

1.80 cups

425 cc

2.01 cups

475 cc

2.22 cups

525 cc

2.43 cups

575 cc

2.64 cups

625 cc

2.96 cups

700 cc

  To see what 350cc breast implants will look like

   fill your stocking with approximately 1 1/2 cups of rice.




  • 1 milliliter (ml) = 1 cubic centimeter (1 cc)

  • 1 Teaspoon [US] = 4.9289216 cubic centimeters (4.9 cc)

  • 1 Tablespoon [US] = 14.7867648 cubic centimeters (14.7 cc)

  • 1 ounce [US, liquid] = 29.5735297 cubic centimeters (29.5 cc)

  • 1 cup [US, liquid] = 236.5882375 cubic centimeters (236.58 cc)













Axis Three Imaging Program in 3-D

Axis Three is a company which offers patients considering breast augmentation with the ability to view what their body will look like after surgery, before surgery. Ultimately, it allows the patient to feel more comfortable and make the decisions easier, as they can view different types of implants and different sizes side by side.  Many surgeons across North America are quickly adopting this technology in their consultation procedures.

Learn more about Axis Three Imaging


Other Imaging Programs

There are Imaging programs you can buy for your computer or you can have this done through a service such as Plastic Surgery ImagingThis site is useful in all plastic surgery procedures, by enhancing communication with your doctor with clarifying your expectations with surgery. This site’s fees ranges from $19 to $100 depending on the procedure you are doing.

There is also Inamodel 3-D Breast Augmentation Imaging which is free.  

Not all plastic surgeons offer virtual imaging; however more and more seem to be doing so.  Digital Imaging simulates your potential results of cosmetic surgery and is an excellent tool to guide discussions with your cosmetic surgeon. 





Actual breast implant sizers are available for purchase to help you find the correct implant size.  Breast implants sizers are "sample" breast implants which are designed specifically for women considering breast augmentation or reconstruction. 

At your consultation for breast augmentation or reconstruction - your plastic surgeon will have sample implants for you to try on with your bra, to see if you like the look of one specific size.

There are a couple of manufacturers now, that have implant sizers you can buy and take home for you to wear for awhile.  There are several commercially available systems available, with most of these tester implants made of plastic shells filled with water.

Natrelle Collection of breast implants is another new option offered by Allergan to help the patient find their ideal fit.  The Natrelle Pre-Consultation Kit - is the only home sizing kit specifically designed to help educate the patient about breast augmentation.  



                                        Photo image courtesy of Allergan - Natrelle





How to Determine how much an Implant Weighs



To calculate the weight of silicone implants, see the directions below:

Silicone: 1cc weighs 0.0375 oz.

If you have two 400cc. implants then: 400cc x 2 = 800cc total

800cc x 0.0375 = 30.0 oz

30.0 oz divided by 16 = 1.87 lbs. for both implants



If you have two 400cc. saline implants then:

400cc x 2 = 800cc total

800cc divide by 29.574 (to convert to ounces) = 27.050 ounces

27.050 divided by 16 (ounces) = 1.69 lbs. for both implants






How to Measure for Your Bra Size

Because there is no fool proof method of determining bra sizes, you might find conflicting answers with whatever chart you decide to use. Obtaining the correct body measurements is imperative, when being fitted for a bra, every place that you will attempt to purchase from might have their own formula that they use.

Implants on general tend to be slightly wider than natural breast tissue.  The bra chart below is one that has worked for many patients; however, it might not work for you.  You will need a soft measuring tape to determine what size cup and band size you should be wearing.  Your band size is also known as your chest size.   Place the tape measure tightly around your back, going under your breasts and across your ribcage. 




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A good rule of thumb to remember when buying a bra is to take your ribcage measurement and perform the following:

  • If the measurement ends up in an even number – you would add 4” to that number to get the correct band size.  So for instance, if you measured a 28” along the ribcage then adding 4” would make you a 32 bra band size.

  • If the measurement under the breast is an odd number, then you would add 5” to calculate your bra band size.  For instance, if you measured 29” along the ribcage then you would add 5” to calculate the bra band size, which would be 34.

  • When measuring for the cup size, take the measuring tape and measure where the breast mound begins near the armpit – over the areola/nipple complex – down to where the breast mound ends near the cleavage.  Take that number on the measuring tape and this will help you determine what cup size you should be wearing.

  • You will find the band sizes at the top of the chart.  With my measurements I measure around the ribcage with a 28” ribcage.  I added 4” to that number and calculated that 32 is the bra band size.  Then I measure for cup size my measurement over my breast mound, starting near the side/armpit area where it starts – over the areola – and down to where the breast mound ends (near the cleavage) – and that measurement is 11.5” – making me a 32F.



                                                                     Bra Chart


                                                   2010 Copyright İ




                                                     2010 Copyright İ




Tips That You Might be Wearing the Wrong Bra Size:

  • Determining bra band size, if you should raise your hands and your breasts fall out below the bra – then go down on your bra band by one size. The band size is too big.

  • The bra’s middle part should fit flat against your rib cage. If it is raised up then you should attempt to up a cup size.

  • The band of the bra needs to stay the same level around the entire perimeter of your body. A band that rides up the back means your bra band size is too big.

  • The straps of the bra should only be only 10% of the support your bra gives. If the straps are doing all the work, then the bra is too big, and you should go down on band size.

  • Bras should fit the breast comfortably with the cup, showing no overflow, double-bubble, or wrinkles in the bra fabric. If you do see wrinkles in the bra fabric, the bra cup size is too big. If you have a lot of overflow (muffin top) coming out of the cup size, then the bra cup size is too small, and you should consider going up in cup size.

  • If the bra band is fitting you too tightly giving you the illusion of back fat, then you need a larger band size or a different style bra.

  • If you can get more than one finger in between the bra strap and your back, then the band size is too big. It is important to make sure the bra band size fits snug.

  • If you are getting rashes or redness on your breast after wearing a bra, then your cup is too small, your under-wire is not in the breast crease, and your bra does not give enough support to lift your breasts off your ribcage. To remedy this try increasing the cup size until you find the right under-wire that fits within your breast crease comfortably.

  • Breast tissue near the armpit is falling out of the bra. This normally means that this certain style of bra is not for you.

  • Several different bra sizes fit me….and this normally means that all manufacturers are not the same with their sizing.

  • Having the under-wire pop out under the arm usually means that the bra cup size is too small and you should go up in size.

  • Stretch marks are running up and down the breast tissue. The issue with stretch marks is that most of these are hereditary, however if you are just noticing that you are getting these marks on your breast, then you are not wearing a supportive bra. Wearing a well made supportive bra will help reduce your chances of getting stretch marks.

  • Shoulder straps are falling off of your shoulders, and if tightening does help then it usually means the bra cup size is too large. Your breast tissue is not filling out the upper portion of the bra. Try going down in cup size.

  • Shoulder straps are digging into the shoulders……and this normally means that the straps are being made to do all the work with your bra not giving you enough support. The straps should only carry approximately 10% of the breast’s weight. You need to find a more supportive bra band size.




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