Feb 23, 2017

End of the Breast Enhancement Era?

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Throughout the late 90’s and early 2000’s, a single trend sticks out in anyone’s mind whenever the topic of plastic surgery comes up: breast augmentation. The bigger the better. But today a growing respect for tiny chests is noticeable in fashion and culture (shout-out to bralettes!). An eager dig through most recent data shows that bigger boobs might not hold the top spot in the world of cosmetic surgery for too much longer.

Here’s the lowdown: according to one 2015 report by the American Society of Plastic Surgery, breast augmentation has gone down 2 percent since 2014 and implant removal procedures have gone up 4 percent. Considering year after year of growth in number of breast augmentations as well as the global dominance of the United States in the world of cosmetic procedures (specifically breast augmentation), the fact that breast augmentation is going down and removals are up proves interesting.

But according to the report, breast reduction surgery has not yet shown to be on the rise – for women. Another report by American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery actually shows that reduction procedures for women declined in 2015 to 103,077 from the 2014 number of 114,070.

Surprisingly male breast reduction for the treatment of gynecomastia (colloquially known as “man boobs”) went up 26 percent. In fact, since 1997 cosmetic procedures in general for men have increased a whopping 325 percent.

Celebrities like Star Jones and Queen Latifah opted for breast reduction after significant weight loss or dealing with physical strain. Others like Victoria Beckham and Pamela Anderson chose to have their implants removed.

Articles published in recent months detail stories of women who, for reasons spanning from feelings of physical invasiveness to a change in attitude toward the look and motives for augmentation, are choosing to either undergo breast reduction surgery or have their implants removed.

Women like Darline Miller, who shared with Today Health & Wellness about her decision to get her implants removed, described the day-to-day frustration of struggling to fit into clothes and the impeding effect of her buxom chest on her exercise and golf swing.

For many, it’s not just a cosmetic issue. Issues like chaffing, neck and back pain, social discomfort and countless other problems caused by large breasts can ultimately decrease the quality of life.

An area of debate in the breast reduction conversation comes into play with teenagers. Doctors’ arguments have varied in recent years over the causes of macromastia (or excessively large breasts) in young women. Some say it’s due to girls reaching puberty earlier; others assert that it correlates to the rise in obesity.

When discussing the decision to have breast reduction surgery at age 17, Modern Family star Ariel Winter says the stigma of cosmetic surgery for younger women shouldn’t be an issue when helping women solve their macromastia-related issues.

She told People that being a short girl with large breasts was “ostracizing and excruciatingly painful”, and the suffering she went through because of it shouldn’t have to be experienced by anyone.

But for women of any age, doctors keep in mind the different life events that could naturally affect breast size and development when helping someone decide if breast surgery is the best option. The late effects of puberty, birth control and other hormone medication, as well as pregnancy are all instances that could change a person’s decision.

It’s hard to tell where the trend with “explants” and breast reduction will go, but the 2016 statistical reports from various associations of plastic surgeons should be coming out within the next month. Perhaps new data will reveal if women are deciding to lighten their load more in 2017.

Whether augmenting, explanting or downsizing, women across America seem to be feeling empowered to talk about and work toward the body that fits their lifestyle, and that’s an idea everyone can get behind.

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Breast Procedures
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plastic surgery breast augmentation breast reduction breast implant replacement breast enlargement explants breast implant removal boob job
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GLOSSARY
Breast Augmentation
Breast Reduction
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