Study finds cultural ideals influence the breast augmentation procedure

An international study recently looked at the contrasting approaches plastic surgeons from different countries took to the breast augmentation procedure. Breast enlargement with implants are the number one most requested cosmetic surgery procedure, both in the UK and around the world.

Since the first breast implant procedure was performed over 50 years ago, it’s thought that between 5 and 10 million women worldwide have undergone the procedure. It’s an operation that women of all ages opt for; younger women who have always been dissatisfied with their breast size and/or shape or older women that have seen changes to their body due to weight loss and pregnancy and wish to restore a more youthful breast shape.

My approach to the breast augmentation operation, as with all cosmetic surgery procedures, is always to produce a natural and beautiful enhancement that suits the individual patient, but this recent study suggests that plastic surgeons from different countries have a markedly different approach to what is the perfect breast size and shape.

How  we decide on breast size and shape

Breast implants now come in a wide range of size, shape, fullness and projection, meaning plastic surgeons are able to produce the size and shape requested by the patient. Yet, in terms of the plastic surgeon’s own aesthetic, cultural differences were identified in the study; surgeons from India preferred a fuller, rounder look whereas French plastic surgeons opted for a more natural shape with less fullness to the upper part of the breast.

And the nipple too

Different surgeons also had definite ideas on the ideal size of the areola. Surgeons from Germany preferred the smallest areola size whereas Brazillian surgeons preferred the largest areola. The same was true for surgeons from India and France.

Your choice

As with every cosmetic surgery procedure, your breast augmentation should be individually tailored to your needs and expectations. During your breast augmentation consultation at my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic, we have a lengthy discussion about what you’re hoping to achieve and then I can guide you in choosing the implants that will best suit your frame and fulfil your realistic expectations from surgery.

The changing face of beauty

The cover story on June’s issue of Time magazine claimed that younger generations expect to tweak and tuck because cosmetic surgery procedures have become the ‘new normal’.

Is this just another of the many permutations that cosmetic surgery is going through and, in the future, we’ll actually see a swing towards avoiding the knife altogether? Since aesthetics have become big business, attitudes towards ‘beauty’ and, in particular, ‘youth’ and how to achieve these ideals have changed.

In the 1980s, facelifts got a bad name. Men and women were keen to avoid the tell-tale wind tunnel effect as skin was pulled and lifted. Non-surgical alternatives, such as Botox and dermal fillers, grew in popularity, variously dubbed the ‘lunchtime facelift’ or ‘liquid lift’, as they seemed to promise a great outcome with minimal downtime. However, the promised results often veered into frozen faces and pillow cheeks, neither of which looked particularly youthful.

Understanding the ageing process

As our knowledge of how the face ages has grown, we have adapted our surgical procedures to match. Often a judicious combination of surgical and non-surgical procedures are required to produce the best result.

Lines and wrinkles: the most commonly-sited ageing concern, lines and wrinkle start can start forming in your twenties and can be exacerbated by smoking, sun damage and environmental factors. However, not all wrinkles are the same.

Dynamic wrinkles are so-called because they are the results of the movement of the muscles underneath the skin. They are commonly found around the eyes in the form of crows feet and on the forehead as frown lines. In these particularly expressive areas, as the muscles continually contract and relax, folds can form in the overlying skin. A surgical facelift won’t target these dynamic wrinkles – instead, muscle relaxing injections in the form of Botox are an effective solution.

Volume loss: lines that form around the nose, mouth, and down to the chin are commonly a result of loss of structure in the cheek area. We lose volume in this area and this presents as flat cheeks and folds of skin appearing on the lower part of the face. The modern-day techniques of facelifting aim to reposition the structures of the face to create a more youthful appearance and we can combine this with temporary dermal fillers or fat transfer to restore volume.

Commonly, you’ll also see a loss of definition in the jawline and even the development of jowls – a surgical tightening of the jawline is really the only way to restore and rejuvenate this area, whatever the various skin tightening devices on the market claim.

The future of beauty

The one thing we can’t do with surgical or non-surgical aesthetic procedures is restore the skin of your youth, but maybe this is something that will be a possibility in the future. Recently, leading global cosmetics company L’Oreal just announced it was going into partnership with Organovo, a San Diego-based bioprinting company, to produce human skin with 3D printers. The possibilities for reconstructive work, such as burns reconstruction, or aesthetics are highly interesting.