A 30-year-old woman I'll call Amber came in for a consultation. She was a typical breast augmentation patient. Tall, slender, and athletic, she couldn't fill a 34-A bra. Shopping for bras and bathing suits was so frustrating, she sometimes left the store fighting back tears. And summer dresses? If they fit her across the hips, they puckered like a raisin across her chest. "I want to be a C," she said firmly. "A full C to D." After we reviewed the procedure and the recovery, I asked her to do the Rice Test. (See the video at the end of this blog.) "The Rice Test," I explained, "is my way of trying to get inside your head to see what size you want to be." When she asked about trying on implants in her bra, I told her we were happy to do that, but not for sizing. Implants pressed against the breasts in a bra give a "stacking effect" that creates too much projection for a given volume. In reality, the breast stretches across the implant, and the Rice Test accounts for that.
Materials for the Rice Test
This was all she needed: 1.Uncooked rice 2.A Pyrex (or other) measuring cup 3.Knee-high nylon stockings 4.An unpadded bra of desired size without much structure or elastic compression. 5.A tight T-shirt 6.A photographer with a camera (A smart phone and a mirror would work fine.)
How To Do the Rice Test
"When you get the materials," I said, "fill each stocking with the rice, then leave space to allow the rice to spread out. Now tie a knot. Fit each rice-filled stocking across the entire width of each breast inside your bra. Finally, put on a tight T-shirt, and have someone take photos." The photos would help her see herself objectively, as if she were looking at someone else. Looking at herself in the mirror wouldn't give her a clear picture. "Start with 10 ounces. If that's not too big, add rice ounce by ounce, checking a photo each time, until you find the volume that's too big. It's important to go just outside your comfort zone, then remove an ounce. That's your size. Next test it to be certain. "Go to a shopping center wearing your rice bags and look at your reflection in the store windows. Is that woman reflecting back at you too big? Too small? Or just right?" By the time her pre-op visit rolled around, she looked confident. "Eleven ounces," she said. "I definitely don't want to be too big." "And 12 ounces looked too big?" She nodded. "Definitely too big. Eleven is my size." Now I could order her implants after adding just a little bit of volume to account for the compression of the implants in her body.
Testing the Limits to Find the Best Implant Volume
Two days before surgery, Amber come back to see me. She was in a panic. "I think I made a mistake. All my friends and family kept telling me not to go too large, so I didn't even test more than 11 ounces. But last night, after I watched the Rice Test video again, I discovered what I really like is 15 ounces! Is it too late to change?" "No, we have size on the shelf. But after surgery it would have been too late!" Three months later, when her surgery was over and the swelling had settled, Amber returned to the office beaming. "I love them!" she said as I walked into the exam room. "I'm so glad I kept going up with the Rice Test, or I would have been so bummed. This is just what I wanted. Thank you." If you want to do the Rice Test, here's a video to show you how. Have fun with it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7quCkRbg0dg