And there she sat in front of me, 3 months after your surgery. It was the post-operative 3-month check-up that we do as standard with breast augmentation. After we had discussed the before and after pictures, it burst out of her. She told me again her story of how she found her way to breast augmentation. It was a long decision making process for her, she sought many professional opinions and made the decision thoughtfully. “In the end, I just wanted to do it for me.” And that got me thinking. What makes us women want to have to want to have breast augmentation?
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Whether it’s a gift from Mother Nature or from a plastic surgeon, when you see a woman with large breasts, the thought that probably immediately comes to mind is: are they real? But another question that isn’t asked as often is: why did she do it? Her answers might surprise us.
We may tend to think that women only want implants to increase the size of their breasts. But the truth is that women choose breast augmentation for many different reasons. In addition to the obvious reasons, some of which are medical, I experience mostly personal reasons that move my patients. Although the reasons for breast augmentation can vary widely, most women choose implants to optimize their natural breast size or shape. These women choose breast augmentation simply because they had smaller breasts to begin with. Other women desire a more voluptuous bust. Still other women opt for breast augmentation because their breasts have changed with age and they find the size, shape or general appearance of their breasts less desirable than they once were. But what about the personal reasons that drive patients to have breast augmentation?
Over the past few years as a plastic surgeon, I have asked hundreds of women why they want breast implants. A large percentage of my patients are women who have had children and feel a deep sense of loss about what their bodies looked like before the child was born. Most importantly, they have noticed a change in the shape and volume of their breasts and want implants to make them look the way they were before.
I also see many young patients who take it for granted that they are concerned with their bodies. In their motivation to have their breasts enlarged, I see a confirmation of their own strength to deal with their bodies in a differentiated way. The word “empowerment” is a much-used word, but here I see it quite justified. Only remotely do all of my patients mention wanting to look better for their spouse or partner, but mostly it’s about boosting their own self-esteem. This is perhaps the most obvious reason why women undergo breast augmentation. But self-confidence comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s not always about adhering to a set standard of beauty. When we as plastic surgeons take on a patient, we should do so with the then we should do so with the utmost respect for a person’s natural features. Features such as breasts that are too small or noticeably asymmetrical, excess skin left behind after massive weight loss, or a drooping eyebrow can be proven to affect a person’s self-confidence.
Often a simple surgical tweak makes all the difference in making a woman feel at her best. And why should we not strive to achieve this feeling. Without being told what to do or what not to do.
When we decide to have breast augmentation, it is highly likely that everyone in our lives will think one way or another about having our breasts enlarged. Even the people who insist that they think nothing of it. In general, you learn a lot about people when you undergo a major physical change, and even though it can be painful, it’s always a good thing in the end. Every time I place breast implants, I have a long conversation with the patient to make sure it’s what she really wants.
“If someone feels like cosmetic surgery is going to help them deal with bigger issues in their life, then surgery is not going to help them.”
Many women I have met are simply not satisfied with their bodies and want to improve them. They have a realistic expectation that they will then look more satisfactory to themselves and to others. But their self-esteem doesn’t depend on it. The least common attitude among patients is that you should do something for someone. They want to please themselves first and foremost, not someone else. In my observation, my patients, no matter what age group or background, are also very aware that their decision to have breast augmentation is a permanent and long-term one. Nowadays we are very concerned with ourselves and many people have a very clear image of themselves. Wanting to improve that, and considering breast augmentation is a very natural process. How you finally make the decision is up to you. And no one should influence us, except ourselves.