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Breast Augmentation: Mixed Emotions

I recently had the chance to observe a breast augmentation procedure performed by a surgeon friend of mine. The patient was a tall, attractive woman in her late thirties. Her husband was in the room, quietly listening to my friend’s explanation of the procedure and what should be expected. The patient was friendly and enthusiastic – the breast augmentation procedure was her birthday gift to herself. This was her second procedure, as she had already increased her cup size from an A to a C a few years prior. This time she wanted D or larger.

I felt mixed emotions as I observed the surgery. On the one hand the patient’s breasts looked fine the way they were (in my humble opinion) and it seemed wrong to further distort her natural body type. Yet on the other hand, I think that patients have the right to look the way they want to, and my personal beauty ideal shouldn’t be projected on to them. I asked my friend how she dealt with this sort of conflict.

“Well,” she said, looking at me with her surgical mask and blue hair net, “if a woman wants a green dress, it’s not the store clerk’s business to try to pressure her into buying a red one. I just try to give the patients what they want, and not impose my opinions on them.”

And so I watched as my friend carefully sutured the wounds around the new implants. She checked the movement of the saline-filled sacs inside the chest. She pushed the breasts together to check the cleavage.

“But the breasts don’t touch each other when you push them to the center,” I said, head tilted sideways.

“Her sternum is too wide for that. This is one of the limitations of implants of this size on her body. She just doesn’t have enough tissue to make that kind of cleavage.”

“Is that ok with her?” I asked, glancing down my own scrub top.

“It’s a give and take – she knows that going larger will not give her a natural look, but she’s ok with that. This is what she wants.”

And so the anesthesiologist woke the patient up, extubated her, and the nursing staff slid her over to the stretcher that would carry her to the recovery area. My friend escaped her sterile gown and gloves and prepared her post-op note at the nursing station desk. I smiled at the nurses who assisted in the surgery, and we shrugged at each other and went on our separate ways. I hope the patient is pleased with the outcome, though most of all I hope she feels content with how she looks, no matter what the bra cup size.

What do you think about breast augmentation?This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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5 Responses to “Breast Augmentation: Mixed Emotions”

  1. MaryMag says:

    I have on augmented breast and one reconstructed one.

    I love it and wish I had two augmented ones.

    I had a Plastic Surgeon who was intent on making me more what I once was than something I never was.   I’ve had this for several years now and have come to the conclusion that he had a point.

     I do Yoga and have to be careful with back-bends and deep twists because it stretches the nerves in my remaining breast un-naturally. I love the way my breast feels as much or more than how it looks and want to retain that.

    Maybe I will feel differently when I am older and sex is less a part of my life.

  2. PearlsAndDreams says:

    As someone who went the other direction … I really really don’t get it. At all.  I desperately tried to talk my surgeon into going to a smaller cup size, but he wouldn’t. I still wish he had. But, that’s another story.  (my biggest disappointment was in finding out there really was no such thing as a comfortable bra, regardless of size!)

    I have had a couple of friends who did the augmentation and I’ve just shook my head. I spent the whole time from age 16 to late 30′s trying to hide my chest so people would look at my FACE … I don’t understand why someone would purposely do the opposite.

    I had the added problems with the physical complications … I don’t know if augmentation gives those that naturally large chests give or not.

  3. phoenix736 says:

    I guess I just don’t get it.  I am a B cup and for comfort, I wear compression sports bras that flatten my breasts against my chest.  No “lifts and separates” for me.  I was on the track team in college and was thankful I didn’t have to carry around all that extra weight. 

    It seems to me that the red dress would be just fine given that the green dress has the potential for complications.

  4. rn-elizabeth says:

    One question that continues to plague me is the celebrated beauty of runway models who for the most part are very flat chested yet an average woman who shares this feature considers themselves to be below public standards. 

    Further, as a menopausal woman at 43 noting the effects of hormone depletion on my body and mood, I do not question what another woman does to augment her view of herself.

    What I do take issue with is that many men AND women feel that superficial beauty is a standard by which they judge other people’s worthiness.  But this is a societal issue and a human nature issue.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s all a matter of personal preference. Being a 37 year old woman  that has never had much of a chest to speak of I am looking forward to my day on the plastic surgeons table.  I am a person that is conscious of the way my chest and my butt look. My personal preference is to have a symmetrical body shape. I have been thin and virtually curveless for most of my life. I would prefer to have a few curves in the right places as apposed to having a huge chest which in my opinion is just for attention or having a flat chest where I feel like a boy.  The butt part I have fixed with exercise and the chest part I would like to fix with augmentation. 

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