Breasts are often idolised as the definitive ideal of femininity. In 2011 breast augmentation proved the most popular cosmetic procedure among women in the UK. Despite the variety of shows aimed at debunking the myths of the perfect body shape increasingly more and more ladies are going under the knife. According to data published by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in 2010, 9,430 women underwent surgery to enhance their breast size. In 2011, this figure rose by 5%. Not just a physical change, for many women the issue of breast size resonates with issues of self-esteem.
Shape, size and appearance
Breast size takes centre stage and many women think bigger and firmer, equals better. This leaves many women consumed with the shape and appearance of their breasts. Often this leaves us asking: are they too small, what do others think, will they really have an impact on my chances of success?
While average breast size in the UK falls within a “B” cup, most women that opt for cosmetic surgery desire to increase the size of their breasts, commonly opt to increase the size to only a modest “C” cup. Reasons for surgical enhancement, enlargement or reduction, range from factors such as dissatisfaction with their original breast size, changes to their body post-baby, asymmetrical breasts and reconstruction surgery as a result of a mastectomy. Societal pressure to fit a mould raises unrealistic standards and can increase feelings of inadequacy and self-worth.
Expecting to enhance appearance or quality of life, pleasing others, improvements to a relationship or employment prospects are some of the many reasons women choose to opt for breast augmentation. Often improvements to breast shape can boost confidence and self-esteem as fears of lost femininity are restored. Relatively quick, the entire procedure takes just under two hours. A major step, many women reported a boost in confidence and note feeling sexier and more feminine post-surgery.
Studies have shown a positive correlation between better body image, improved sexual satisfaction and increased self-worth among women who have undergone breast enlargement surgery. Yet studies report careful screening by doctors and self-awareness are critical for women thinking about the procedure. Breast implants are not a quick fix for women facing mental health issues. For example, women with a history of substance abuse problems or psychological problems pre surgery are at slightly higher risk of suicide years later.
Changes to breasts
Although natural breasts change over time, implants generally continue to remain the same. With the option to use saline or silicone implants, the feel of breasts are just as important as their physical appearance. Although it is important to remember there are factors that can cause implants to change their feel – particularly young women in their very early 20’s, pregnancy, breastfeeding and natural age progression can all cause implants to change their appearance and feel.
Having surgery should reflect choice on a personal rather than emotional level. Unrealistic expectations from surgery can create additional emotional distress. Seeing the real you can be difficult for any women seeking a perfect image of what they believe they should look like. A healthy body image is an important factor in a woman’s self-esteem and many women report improvements to body image and psychological issues following the procedure. Everyone wants to look and feel their best but a healthy-self image prior to surgery is important in maintaining positive self-esteem.
For women stricken with cancer, the loss of one or both breasts can dramatically impact self-confidence. The absence of breasts leaves many women with conflicted feelings of guilt, loss of femininity and low self-worth. For women battling chronic diseases like cancer, having breast surgery can have vast, positive mental effects and improve confidence.
Healthy Body Image
Creating a healthy body image is a difficult journey for many women and the results from breast augmentation can be an emotional rollercoaster. Before surgery, studies report women that do undergo surgery face greater emotions of distress about their appearance and spend more time with a psychiatrist. Often when facing self-esteem issues expectations is often unrealistic leaving many women in an emotionally fragile state. A band-aid does not alleviate breast surgery since surgery cannot transform unhealthy or unnatural expectations.
Breasts come in all shapes and sizes and learning to accept them is the first step towards a healthy self-esteem. Surgery won’t change your life but it can make improvements to how you view yourself in the mirror. The impact of cosmetic breast implants can help improve confidence but realistic expectations from yourself and insights from medical professionals are necessary to tell whether implants are right for you.