Womens Health

Breast Assymetry-A rule of thumb

A rule-of thumb that is commonly used is that most breast size differences are less than a bra cup size in volume and usually do not require surgical treatment.

If you think your one breast is a full cup size or more different, then you may want to consider cosmetic surgery by a plastic surgeon. Plastic surgeons will still perform surgery with smaller differences than a cup size but you need to be the judge if it is worth it.

If you have a difficulty determining cup size you may want to measure the breasts the way the plastic surgeons measure it.

Using this technique, you need a tape measure that has markings in inches. Start at the outside of the chest where the breast begins. Measure across the fullest part of the breast (usually across the nipple) to where the other side of the breast stops near the breast bone. If the measurement is:

  • 7 inches (17.8 cm) - cup size is A
  • 7.5 inches (19.0 cm) - cup size is full A
  • 8 inches (20.3 cm) - cup size is B
  • 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) - cup size is full B
  • 9 inches (22.9 cm) - cup size is C
  • 9.5 inches (24.1 cm) - cup size is full C
  • 10 inches (25.4 cm) - cup size is D
  • 10.5 inches (26.7 cm) - cup size is full D
  • 11 inches (30 cm) - cup size is DD

When should asymmetry of the breasts be surgically corrected?

Many surgeons prefer not to perform cosmetic surgery prior to age 18 although this has been questioned and long term results may be as good when operating at age 17 or less.

In general, however, it is best not to operate within the first two years after the onset of menses. An exception to this may be for massive enlargement of the breast called virginal hypertrophy.

If there is asymmetrical growth with severe hypertrophy (cup size greater than D) in adolescence, then surgery may be performed at a much younger age even though the other breast has not yet completed its growth. 

Surgery for breast asymmetry may involve augmentation of one or both breasts, reduction mammoplasty of one or both breasts if hypertrophy is present, or even augmentation of one breast and reduction in size of the other.

Sometimes there is sagging (ptosis) of one of the asymmetrical breasts that needs to be corrected at the same time. Surgery to correct asymmetry is about 90% successful as far as women attaining their desired result.

Table of Contents
1. Breast Asymmetry
2. When do you need surgery?
3. Do they sag and droop?
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