Choosing The Best Breast Implant Size for You

Breast augmentation top surgery, formerly referred to as MTF top surgery or MTF breast augmentation, can provide a more enhanced breast appearance than from HRT breast growth alone. In this article, we discuss the results and what changes to expect after undergoing breast augmentation. While there are many factors that can influence your final outcome, choosing the right implant size and type can help adjust your breast appearance according to your preference. To achieve this, we explore how implant sizers, before and after photos, and the “rice test” can help you choose the right size for you.

Many transgender and nonbinary  people initiate hormone therapy to encourage breast and nipple growth, but there is a limit to how much the breasts will change with hormones alone. If you want the appearance of larger, fuller breasts, you may be interested in considering breast augmentation.

Breast augmentation involves an incision under the breast, in the armpit, or around the nipple. Through this incision, your surgeon  will insert a saline or silicone breast implant. Read our page on the differences between saline and silicone implants to learn more about the two materials and the ir variations in postoperative results.

Before undergoing surgery, it is important to have realistic expectations about what your results will look like.

What will my breasts look and feel like after surgery?

Every patient is unique, so there is no way to predict exactly how your breasts will look and feel following surgery. It’s important to note that surgically augmented breasts tend to look and feel slightly different from natural breasts. Augmented breasts are typically slightly further apart, firmer, and rounder. Additionally, transgender patients typically have a wider, more pronounced chest. Choosing the right size and type of implant can help minimize these features if the patient so desires. Your surgeon  will work with you to design a personalized surgical plan for your anatomy. Speaking candidly about your cosmetic goals is the best way to help your surgeon  understand your expectations.

How do I choose the right implant size for me?

No two bodies are the same, which makes it difficult to project your final results. For example, if you like the way 400cc looked on someone else, it does not mean that 400cc will look the same on you. This is because of many factors, including, but not limited to, the amount of pre-operative breast tissue, the shape (and potential abnormalities) of the chest wall, overall body weight, and chest width. Read below for some tips on choosing the right implant size for you.

Implant Sizers

One great way to gauge how you will look post-surgery is to try out breast implant sizers. During in-person consultations, your surgeon  will let you try on implant sizers in the office. We normally ask patients to come in wearing a sports bra or regular bra.

Before and After Photos

While before and after photos can serve as a very useful tool during the consultation process, they are not the most accurate representation of what volume you would like your implants to be. Here are some tips for viewing before and after photos:

  • Rely on photos of patients with similar body shape to your own (e.g. overall weight, height, and chest width). This will help you get a better idea of the size and shape of implants you want.
  • Find images of patients who are near your age. Younger patients generally have greater skin elasticity, which can alter final results.
  • Look for post-surgical scarring. Though most breast augmentation procedures leave minimal scars, incision location will ultimately determine your results.

The Rice Test for Breast Augmentation

You can also try on different “sizes” at home using the “rice test,” which can tell you how many CCs you might want your implants to have. Please remember that the rice test is not an exact science and is only meant to give you a rough estimate. And, even though this test is widely referred to as the rice test, there are other materials that might work better than rice due to their volume. These include quinoa (although it’s the most expensive), potato flakes, grits, and oatmeal.

Rice Test Instructions

In order to use this tool, you’ll need the following materials: pantyhose or knee-high hose, measuring cups, scissors, and dry rice or other filler material as listed above. Using the rice to CC conversions listed below, measure the rice and use it to fill in a knee-high hose or a cut-off pantyhose. Do not use ziplock bags as those have pointed corners. Once the hosiery is filled, you can try on the “implants” under a sports bra or a regular bra that has underwire and very minimal padding.

If you plan on having the implants placed under your muscle, we recommend a sports bra because the sports bra compresses the breast implant sizers much like the muscle will compress the real implants. Implants placed under the muscle will compress the implants about 15%, so plan on having 15% more cc added to your implant. For example, if you like the look of 400cc implant sizers you will need to add about 15% to that amount, equating to 460cc, to achieve the look you like with 400cc under the sports bra.

Read more about breast implant placement here

The rice test is not meant to look or feel like breasts. However, they will give you an idea of how your breasts will look under clothing.

Implant Sizer Measurement Conversions 

The approximate conversions below will help you measure out how much rice to add to your homemade implant sizers. Do not weigh the rice. The rice should be measured as a volume using the system above. The measurement conversions can be used in combination with one another so you can find the look that feels best for you.

    • 1 cup    = 236cc
    • 3/4 cup = 177cc
    • 2/3 cup = 156cc
    • 1/2 cup = 118cc
    • 1/3 cup = 78cc
    • 1/4 cup = 59cc
    • 1/8 cup = 30cc

In Summary

  • Breast growth is limited for trans people  who undergo estrogen-based  hormone replacement therapy. For people who want the appearance of fuller breasts, breast augmentation is an option. 
  •  Every breast augmentation looks unique.
  • The rice test is the best way to figure out your desired breast size. There is information on that above and on this downloadable PDF.


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