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Natural vs obvious breast augmentation

Article-Natural vs obvious breast augmentation

Early last year ABC News reported that breast augmentation patients are likely to forgo big implants, instead opting for about a cup size increase in breast size in their story: “Breast augmentation: smaller implants becoming a bigger trend.” Leading this “trend” are celebrities Victoria Beckham, Heidi Montag, Pamela Anderson and Tamra Barney, who have had surgeries to reduce their implant size or to remove the implants completely, according to the report.

On the other hand, news from the November 2015 Festival of Social Science, run by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which funds research on social and economic questions, suggests the “fake” breast look, more commonly associated with breast augmentation, is becoming increasingly appealing to American women. Yes, you read that right. The study authors attribute this phenomenon to women wanting to connect to celebrity culture and defy the aging process.

During the festival’s event “Obviously augmented breasts: the new fascination with inauthenticity,” Debra Gimlin, Ph.D., M.A., of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, presented her study of U.S. women, which explored the growing normalization of cosmetic surgery and the cultural emphasis on self-transformation.

“The research has found that over time there has been an increasing tendency for women to describe obviously augmented breasts as ‘beautiful.’ This emerging ‘aesthetics of artificiality’ is counter to the original goal of cosmetic surgery — namely for the body to appear natural,” according to an ESRC press release.

So is the trend "natural," "obvious" or both?

Cosmetic Surgery Times asked plastic and cosmetic surgeons what trends in breast surgery they’re experiencing in practice.

TREND: Big Is By No Means Out


Big Is By No Means Out

Dr. SalzbergC. Andrew Salzberg, M.D., director of integrated plastic surgery, Mount Sinai Health System, and associate professor of plastic surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says big is by no means out.

“While I do think it is true that many women are choosing a more natural shaped implant for their breast augmentation, there is still a large percentage of the population who desire a significant change,” Dr. Salzberg says. “Many women are looking for much more upper pole fullness in their breasts because of having children and delayed motherhood. For many women, pregnancy causes a decrease in the volume of the upper portion of the breast.”

According to Dr. Salzberg, who is part of the largest health care system in the New York City Metro area, the average age of augmentation at his practice is about 38 years. He reports that many of the women who want the bigger implants are choosing natural teardrop-shaped options, versus large round implants.

“I think it is largely true that women have differing opinions, but larger breasts are certainly still in style and the magazines and runways show larger breasted women. Many of the patients that I see for breast augmentation do want to increase the volume to greater than a C cup size,” Dr. Salzberg says.

NEXT: One Size Does Not Fit All


One Size Does Not Fit All

Dr. ShaferNew York City plastic surgeon David Shafer, M.D., says one size does not fit all women when it comes to breast implants. The trends he says he sees in practice are that women in the fashion/beauty industry, socialites and soccer moms are into the natural look.

“Women in the music/TV/film industry, those that fly in from warmer weather cites for surgery (LA/Miami/South America) and those that enjoy the yacht lifestyle tend toward larger implants,” Dr. Shafer says.

There was a general shift in focus from bigger is better to finding an implant that matches the body’s natural curves in 2012, when anatomic or "gummy bear" breast implants were approved for cosmetic use. It was then that patients and doctors also were becoming more aware of factors, such as excessive upper pole fullness leading to an unnatural look and making sure that implant diameter matches the patient's skin envelope.

Today, it’s about customization, according to the plastic surgeon.

“When choosing an implant it is not all about size. Take the Natrelle 410 Shaped Implant [Allergan], for example. There is the height, width, projection and the volume to consider. Most patients are familiar with the volume such as 300cc or 350cc, for example. The width is how wide the implant is on your chest. The height is how tall the implant sits on your chest. The projection is how far the implant extends out from your chest,” Dr. Shafer says. “So, a tall person may use an implant with a taller height and a shorter person may use an implant with a shorter height. A wider person may use an implant that is wider and a thinner person would use a more narrow implant. On the other extreme there is another style implant, the Natrelle Inspira [Allergan], which is a round smooth implant that maximizes upper pole fullness for patients aiming for a rounder look. There literally are hundreds of combinations to customize the implant to the patient's body.”

NEXT: Natural Results Reign


Natural Results Reign

New Jersey plastic surgeon Shain Cuber, M.D., says, trends aside, natural results reign at his practice.

“In our office, the rule is and always has been to obtain a natural result,” Dr. Cuber says. “Most of our patients seeking breast augmentation seem to be thinner, which usually correlates with smaller breast size. While we occasionally get a patient that wants unnaturally large breasts, the bulk of the patients want something that is in balance with the rest of their body.”


Dr. Shafer is a paid educator for Allergan, but only teaches sessions for Botox and Voluma. He does not receive compensation from Allergan in the area of breast implants. 

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