Breast surgery: women may now favour shape over size

The quest for natural and authentic According to industry professionals, women are now favouring breast reduction and lifting for a variety of reasons - so much so that a boom in these procedures is expected in 2024.

From New York to Los Angeles to Sydney, breast reduction surgery already seems to be gaining in popularity in some parts of the world, and the procedure could now become a top choice in Europe.

There appears to be a real social shift in the making – considering that breast augmentation has dominated trends for (a very) long time – reflecting women’s desire to make lasting changes to their shape while striving for greater authenticity. At this stage, breast reduction has not yet replaced augmentation, but 2024 could mark a turning point.

As is so often the case, it’s in Hollywood (and on the red carpet) that breast augmentation has begun to fall out of favour. Many of the celebrities who helped make the procedure popular in recent years – or decades – have, in recent months, expressed regret about the procedure, and spoken of their intention – in some cases – to do something about it.

Victoria Beckham, Denise Richards and Ashley Tisdale are among them, and their confessions may have contributed to the predicted boom in breast reductions in 2024. It may even be one of the year’s most popular procedures, according to Marc Pacifico, plastic surgeon and president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the professional believes that breast reduction could be one of the most popular procedures this year. In any case, reductions will be on the rise, to the detriment of the fitting – or even retention – of large implants, which women are slowly but surely turning away from.

And if some women seem to want to turn back, regretting having succumbed to breast augmentation, the reasons for this craze for breast reduction are actually many and varied, as the plastic surgeon explains.

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“Shape over size”

The contours of a new female silhouette could be defined in 2024, with women preferring to focus on the shape of their breasts, rather than their size. At least, that’s what Marc Pacifico told the British newspaper, pointing out that women are now turning their attention more towards “smaller implants combined with breast lifts”.

The idea is to move away from overly generous breasts – which can be a source of pain and physical problems such as backache, poor posture and even difficulties in exercising – in favour of smaller, but lifted and firm breasts.

According to the surgeon, motherhood may play a role in the shift towards these new goals. Not only might new mothers be foregoing larger implants, but they might also be more interested in a restoration or lift after breastfeeding to regain a certain firmness.

And when they opt for breast augmentation, it’s no longer to get generously sized breasts, as has been the case for many years, but simply to regain the breasts they had before breastfeeding or childbirth.

Game over for big breast implants?

This trend is reflected in the latest data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), which shows that Generation X – the 40-54 age group – will account for some 43% of breast implant removals in 2022. A figure that clearly shows a desire to turn back the clock, and give up a look that perhaps no longer fits with the expectations and priorities of the times. That said, the professional society estimates that 35% of breast augmentations were undertaken by Millennials in the same year.

These figures are supported by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) which reports that breast augmentation remained the most popular surgical procedure for women in 2022, with 2.2 million procedures (+29% on 2021), even though, overall, liposuction overtook it as most common surgical procedure from 2021.

These figures are two years old, however, and the trend could be reversing. Indeed, associated needs and expectations seem to have evolved, with a desire to return to more natural-looking breasts, rather than generously proportioned breasts. And this trend has not gone unnoticed on social networks, with the #breastreduction hashtag already clocking up over 1.5 billion views.

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