A "cc," or cubic centimeter, is a volumetric unit equal to one thousandth of a liter, or one milliliter. But what does this mean to you? More specifically, how does this translate into your final breast augmentation result, and what do the increment increases actually look like?
Breast implants: a look at the cubic centimeter
Breast implants on the market today use a universal system of volumetric measurement: the "cc," or cubic centimeter. The cubic centimeter is a definite, unchanging measurement; unlike other measurements used to describe an implant, the volumetric measurement is constant. A 350cc implant will always be 350 cubic centimeters, regardless of the profile or shape of the implant. The other measurements, such as size, describe the dimensions of the implant (e.g. centimeters).
How do cubic centimeters translate to bra size?
Breast implants come in a large range of volume sizes, and each has its own specific measurements. Often, the patient will be focused on a set bra size over a volume of implant. Bra sizing does not have an industry standard—a 34C in one brand does not always hold the same amount of breast as a 34C in another brand. Bras also come in many different shapes to accommodate the variety of shapes a woman’s breasts comes in.
Telling your surgeon that you’d like a C-cup is risky because a that is not a standardized measurement—take this question we received, for example. Imaging software like Axis 3D or Vectra 3D, as well as photos of ideal breasts, help bridge this communication gap between patient and surgeon.
What to do when you are faced with a small cc difference
Navigating through the sheer range of breast implant sizes available is daunting for any woman. After you consultation with a board-certified surgeon, you'll likely have a lot of implants types and sizes to choose from. Depending on the size range you are considering, your implant choices may come in sizes that are very close together. This can be as small a difference as 15-25cc depending on the brand!
A visual representation may help you decide between implant choices. Go into your kitchen and find your teaspoon measuring spoon. Measure out five teaspoons of water and put it in a small glass. That five teaspoons is just a tiny bit under 25cc.
Better yet, think of your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. You place a cookie sheet in the amount of one heaping tablespoon. That is approximately 25cc. That small amount of volume is what stresses so many women out! It's hard to believe, but true.
CCs and breast implant size
Here are some other visual representations you may see in your daily life—and here's how they translate to breast implant size:
- An 8-ounce drink is approximately the same volume as a 235cc implant
- A 12-ounce tall coffee from Starbucks is approximately the same volume as a 350cc implant
- A 16-ounce can of energy drink is approximately the same volume as a 475cc implant
- A 20-ounce bottle of soda is approximately the same volume as a 600cc implant
- A 25-ounce bottle of wine (standard size) is approximately the same volume as a 750cc implant
Deciding on which cc amount to go with
How do you decide when there are so many choices? This is where proportion is comes in. A 25-50cc implant is not proportionally large on a 475cc implant, but it is on a 235cc implant. Profile may also be important in your choice. Using water and simple containers, you can create your own visual representation for each of these to help you understand how profile affects your implant choice. Let's look at proportion and profile.
First take two containers of the same size. Measure out eight ounces of water in one (about the size of a 235cc implant), and 16 ounces of water in the other (about the size of a 475cc implant). Add 10 teaspoons (50cc) to both containers. The container holding the 235cc will have a much larger visual increase than the 475cc container. Proportionally, the 235cc was increased by 21 percent and the 475cc was increased by 10.5 percent. This visual shows you how a small cc size difference may be more significant depending on your implant size range.
Take two glasses, one tall and thin to represent a high profile implant, and one shorter and wider to represent a moderate implant. Measure out eight ounces of water in each. Next, add your five teaspoons (25cc) of water to each cup. Visually, the tall, thin “HP” glass looks like it has had more change than the shorter, wider “moderate” glass. This visual helps you see how your implant profile choice may make your cc size options more significant.
Updated May 2017