The Quiet Change in Breast Implants That You Didn't Notice

Babies love ‘em, some men lose all sense of reality around them, and marketers rely on them to consistently sell everything from burgers to ear buds. It’s hard to deny “the power of the breast.” But with body-confident hashtags trending and more and more women embracing the au naturel, is going under the knife for bigger breasts losing it’s appeal?

Not exactly. What is declining in popularity are the prominent, over-sized, and unnaturally shaped breast implants of the past. As current body ideals favor fitness and self-acceptance over gravity-defying, big boobs, women who do seek breast augmentations are opting for smaller, more natural-looking implants.

Type of breast augmentation?

“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," Dr. Daniel Mills, president-elect of ASAPS, said in a recent interview. “We seem to be moving away from the ‘bigger is better’ attitude.”

While breast augmentation has shown a recent 1 percent decrease in numbers, boobs are still way ahead in the surgical popularity game. Breast implants remain the number one most requested surgical procedure for women aged 19-34, and the number 2 most requested surgical procedure for women in all other age brackets. According to the latest statistical report from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), over 280,000 women opted to have their breasts augmented in 2014 — not including the 130,000 plus women who opted to lift their breasts without adding size. Noted data journalist Mona Chalabi estimated that roughly 4 percent of women in America — one in every 26 — has breast implants, making breast augmentation a billion dollar industry in 2014 alone.

Removing implants?

Of course for every woman who’s thrilled with the results of her boob job, there is another speaking openly about removing their formerly surgically-enhanced breasts. Celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Sharon Osbourne, Heather Morris and Melissa Gilbert have all gone on the record about removing their breast implants, and they’re not alone.

According to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), explant (implant removal surgery) procedures have risen nearly 10 percent between 2010-2014. Nearly 24,000 women in 2014 alone chose to have their breast implants removed. Complaints include anxiety over serious health issues, neck and back pain, discomfort during workouts, and unwanted attention, as well as the additional cost and upkeep required to maintain breast implants. The FDA maintains that "Implants are not lifetime devices,” and suggests that the longer a woman has them, the more likely she is to require a replacement or removal. Nearly 10-25 percent of patients will experience a rupture or deflation over a 10-year period, an experience that could lead to other health issues and could cost an estimated $46,000 plus over a lifetime.

It seems expense, health risk, and upkeep are no real match against the surgical possibility to achieve the “perfect” breasts. And with cosmetic surgery advancing, and women continuing to struggle with body-confidence, self-acceptance and media-infused ideals of what is beautiful, there’s little chance that the “boob job” will give up it’s top 2 spot any time soon.