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Defining an ‘attractive’ breast

Could plastic surgeons define an “attractive” breast differently based on thier demographic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds? Noting the lack of plastic surgery literature regarding breast-shape preferences, a research team headed by Peter Niclas Broer, M.D., of Yale University, decided to try and find out if factors such as sex, age and geography affected perceptions of what an “attractive” breast should look like following enhancement surgery.

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The team designed an interactive online survey that allowed surgeon participants to change the shape of a model’s breasts. The researchers also created a questionnaire, had it translated into several languages and sent it to plastic surgeons worldwide. Demographic data were collected, and analysis of variance was used to determine plastic surgeons’ breast-shape preferences with regard to the physicians’ sex, age, geographic background, ethnicity and practice type.

What They Found

 

What They Found

The researchers gathered 614 responses from plastic surgeons in 29 countries. The responses reflected significant differences in preferences for upper pole fullness, areola size in the natural breast and areola size in the augmented breast among respondents from the different countries. Significant relationships regarding breast-shape preferences were identified according to respondents’ age, sex and practice type. No differences were found to reflect surgeons’ self-reported ethnic background.

“These findings have implications for both patients seeking and surgeons performing cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery,” the authors write. “In an increasingly global environment, cultural differences and international variability must be considered when defining and publishing new techniques and aesthetic outcomes. When both the plastic surgeon and the patient are able to adequately and effectively communicate their preferences regarding the shape and relations of the breast, they will be more successful at achieving satisfying results.”

The study was published in the June issue of Annals of Plastic Surgery.

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