Are Big Breasts Out and Small Breasts In?

    Why are thousands of women having their breast implants removed? The numbers are showing a trend toward smaller breasts. Have fashion trends changed, and are big boobs on the way out?

    Several months ago, 42-year-old Christie arrived at a cosmetic surgeon’s office in Seattle with her overflowing, size E-cup implants. She underwent general anesthesia and left the office three hours later with size B breasts.

    In an interview with Fox News Health, Christie explained that she no longer felt confident with the boob job that her ex-boyfriend had urged her to get four years ago. She felt that the huge breasts had become an obstacle to her career as an information technology specialist, as well as in other areas in her life.

    “I began to make a lot of new choices pertaining to my health over the last several years. I was eating better and exercising with a private trainer. My inflated boobs simply didn’t fit in with my new lifestyle choices. They were so heavy that I could barely run. My final straw occurred at the gym when I caught a glimpse of myself in the floor-length mirror in my form-fitting workout clothes. I saw just how fake my boobs looked, and I suddenly was self-aware and completely uncomfortable with my eye-catching appearance.”

    The Burst of the Boob Job Bubble
    Between 2000 and 2006, a record number of women rushed to get implants, increasing the number of procedures performed by 55 percent. Much of this can be attributed to Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson, with her XXL implants, and to Carmen “32DD” Electra, who was ranked by a number of men’s magazines as one of the world’s sexiest women. 

    The FDA then approved a new type of silicone implant in 2006. This boosted an already booming breast augmentation market, with augmentation surpassing liposuction’s popularity and becoming the top cosmetic procedure in the USA.

    Over ten years later, many women regret that decision. Dr. Janette Alexander, a plastic surgery medical officer within the FDA’s surgical devices division, explains it this way: “Implants are not lifetime devices—the longer a woman has them, the more likely it is that she will need additional surgery, which could include replacement or removal”. 

    Experts refer to the removal of breast implants as explant procedures. The number of explants performed increased nearly 10 percent from 2010 to 2014, and has continued to increase. Every year, some 25,000 women between the ages of 30 to 54 say farewell to their fake breasts forever.

    Plastic surgeons across the United States are now performing surgeries for former clients, removing or shrinking implants on women they previously augmented. “Although I can’t say I’ve seen it often at my practice, it’s definitely a trend that’s been reported in the media,” says New Jersey plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Breslow. “A number of celebrities are leading the less-is-more push – Sharon Osbourne and Victoria Beckham come to mind,” he adds.

    Towards a more natural, fit look

    Our culture has a new-found fitness focus, which steps past appearance and focuses on physical activity and performance. Healthy bodies are the ultimate goal, and women who were surprised by the maintenance that their implants required are no longer willing to accept potential health issues, inconveniences and expenses. Bigger is better is no longer the standard. Healthy is best. 

    Body ideals have also changed, which plays a big part in the surgical shift from implant to explant. “Surgeons are seeing a definite shift in the look many women are asking for, away from the very round, prominent ‘stripper boob’ toward something more in keeping with their natural shape,” says Dr. Daniel Mills, president-elect of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). “It’s early in the trend, and not every woman is on board—I had a 50-year-old patient just yesterday who wanted to be a G-cup!—but we seem to be moving away from the ‘bigger is better’ attitude.”

    While no one is quite ready to declare victory in the obvious body-acceptance battle, there has been a cultural shift taking place that celebrates a wider diversity of female shapes, breast sizes and body styles. Big breasts are still seen as beautiful, yet small breasts are being seen as beautiful in their own right, as well.

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