Trends change over time in nearly any field, and one of the easiest trends to watch is society’s changing beauty ideals. Plastic surgery, of course, is strongly affected by these cosmetic trends, and one current example of this is that more and more women want breasts of a natural-looking shape, rather than the “larger than life” implants which were popular 10-20 years ago.
Why are women requesting more natural-looking breasts?
It’s difficult to pin down a specific reason for any trend, but in general, it appears that our society has come to place less value on a narrow set of “ideal” proportions and more value on the beauty that comes from simply being comfortable in one’s body, so women are feeling less of a desire for extremely large breasts. However, there are also practical reasons why so many women are opting for more subtle breast implants. Just like women with naturally large breasts, those who opt for very large implants can experience physical discomforts like pain in the shoulders, back, and neck, as well as difficulty exercising and shoulder “dents” from strained bra straps.
Does this mean fewer women are having breast augmentation?
Not necessarily. In fact, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, breast augmentations in the US have risen by nearly 50% since 2000. After all, a woman who is self-conscious about small or asymmetrical breasts still has those concerns regardless of the current beauty standards. The difference is that more of these breast augmentation patients choose to simply go up one or two cup sizes, opting for implants which are large enough to help them feel confident yet small enough that they still look proportionate to their frame.
However, we are also seeing an increase in the number of women who had these very large breast implants and who are now choosing to swap them out for smaller implants. Some women are even having their implants removed altogether. However, keep in mind that dramatically decreasing the size of your bust may give the breasts a “sagging” appearance because the skin had stretched to accommodate the previous implants, so for many of these patients, I recommend combining the implant removal/exchange with a breast lift to restore a more youthful shape.
While both society’s and your own perception of beauty may change, plastic surgery should always have the same goal – to help you feel confident, not to make someone else happy. To discuss your own breast augmentation or to learn more about changing or removing your breast implants, schedule a consultation with me, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Franklyn Elliott. Or, to stay up-to-date on the latest cosmetic surgery trends, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.