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Summary: When it comes to breast augmentation, smaller breast implants might be getting the upper hand. For the longest time, breast augmentation was thought of (sometimes erroneously) and marketed as a way for patients to see significantly larger breasts. But that’s changing. More and more often, patients are wanting to see breasts that are more modestly sized.

The Popularity of Smaller Breast Implants

We’re not used to thinking of breast augmentation as something that emphasizes smaller breasts. In fact, we’re more accustomed to breast augmentation as something that increases breast size—and increases that size significantly. The oft-cited, over-used cliché of breast augmentation has always been a woman receiving breasts that are overly large for her frame.

To be sure, there are women who want to achieve a significant increase in bust size with a breast augmentation procedure. But it’s becoming more and more apparent that one of the big trends in breast augmentation procedures is for patients to select more modest implant sizes.

To be sure, this is not something that’s come out of the blue. The vast majority of breast augmentation patients have always wanted an option that’s proportional to their bodies. However, there’s always been a pretty wide range when considering those proportions. That might help us understand why patients are now opting for breast implants that do not significantly increase their overall bust size.

What’s the Advantage of Smaller Implants?

There’s likely to be a certain proportion of the population (many of them men, perhaps) that will wonder what the point of a smaller breast implant is. After all, shouldn’t you try to go as big as possible if you’re going to all the trouble of going under the knife?

In short: no. The success of a breast augmentation is not measured by the volume of the implant inserted. Rather, most women are looking to even out their proportions—to bring their bust into proportion with their hips, for example. Other women might be looking to correct asymmetry. Still others might be looking for just a little extra volume, a little more cleavage.

But there are significant advantages of smaller implants, including the following:

  • Results that are easily hidden—or rather, results that don’t stand out too much
  • Results that make the patient feel confident in her own skin
  • In some cases, smaller implants mean more incision techniques are available to the patient, including less invasive options
  • Less invasive incision techniques can sometimes translate to faster recovery
  • Smaller implants tend to be more comfortable over a longer period of time
  • Smaller implants might be less likely to be removed or replaced later in life (at least, as early as larger implants might) due to change in tastes)
  • Implants that are proportional to the frame tend to look more natural
  • It can be difficult (and even painful) to stay active with overly large breasts
  • Breasts that are too large for one’s frame can lead to neck and back pain over time

In other words, there are significant advantages for patients who choose smaller implants.

Why Are Smaller Implants Suddenly More Popular?

There’s no doubt that modern trends are favoring more modestly sized breasts. As such, it’s not shocking that this trend would transfer into the size of breast implants too. There are certainly good reasons why smaller implants are suddenly (or perhaps not so suddenly) becoming more popular.

First and foremost, they’re becoming more popular because patients are asking for them. These patients are more comfortable with a modest increase—a proportional increase—rather than an overly large increase. The patient has a lot of sway (rightfully so) in determining the final size of the implant to be inserted.

But there’s also another factor at work here: an emphasis on the “natural.” Breast implants broadly speaking are much more natural looking than they were, say, ten or twenty years ago. If you can get a result that looks natural, you might be more inclined to go for a size that also, well, looks natural. It’s not that women who otherwise would have chosen to go big now go modest so much as it’s women who would have never considered an augmentation now think about modest implants.

The Popularity of Modest Breast Implants

Because patients are so diverse, the popularity of these modest implant sizes has a variety of origins. There isn’t one single reason why smaller breast implants have become more popular. Rather, there’s a nexus of reasons. And those reasons include the following:

  • Breast augmentation can be combined (and often is combined) with a breast lift, in order to ensure that you get the most bang for your buck from the implant size you select
  • Modern “attractive” proportions tend to favor a certain hip to bust ratio, and that current ratio tends to favor smaller implants
  • There have been many news stories about patients deciding to downsize larger implants later in life; it’s possible those stories have influenced the long-term outlook of patients
  • Breast augmentation is now currently used often to help correct breast asymmetry; in those cases, the breasts need only to match, not necessarily increase in size overall (though that is possible should the patient request it)

It’s About Finding What Works For You

Plastic surgery has always been pretty focused on the individual, on finding what works for persons x, y, or z. That’s why breast surgeons have been quick to respond to this change in breast implant demand. It’s not as though smaller implants were ever unpopular, and it’s not like larger implants are somehow disappearing.

It would be more accurate to say now that more patients are able to get exactly what they want, they’re more likely to be interested in plastic surgery. There isn’t a one-size-fits all solution to any issue of body image. Plastic surgeons have learned how to give each and every patient precisely what they need.

So if you’re thinking about a modest increase in your bust size or if you want to address some lingering asymmetry, contact your local plastic surgeon to see if you are a good fit for breast augmentation surgery. There aren’t non-surgical solutions for breast augmentation yet (aside from padding or contouring make-up), but they likely aren’t all that far off.

That means it’s if you don’t see what you want yet, there’s a good chance you will eventually. Keep doing your research, keep digging into what you want, and don’t give up on the body you’d like to have. Plastic surgeons have gotten much more successful at creating subtle changes to the body, so if smaller breast implants are available around you, they might just be what you’re looking for.

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