The culture has shifted when it comes to breast augmentation surgery — now bigger is out and smaller is in. There is currently a growing trend of women opting for breast explant surgeries, which means they are choosing to reduce or remove their breast implants.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 38,000 breast implant removals were performed in 2015. The ASAPS started tracking the procedure last year because of the uptick that plastic surgeon saw in patients requesting them.
Real Self, an online community for plastic surgery patients, had more than 400,000 visitors to its Breast Implant Removal forum, which was a 22 percent increase from traffic in 2015.
“Women are downsizing or having them taken out altogether,” said Laguna Beach, California, plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Mills. He said the majority of his patients have had their implants for decades.
Darline Miller was one of those women. After having breast augmentation surgery 16 years ago where she increased her natural “B” cup size to a fuller “C” size, Miller grew wary of her top heavy voluptuous figure. In addition to the annoyance she faced trying to find fitness bras or bikini tops that didn’t reveal “too much side boob,” her new breasts also got in the way of her golf swing. But mostly, Miller feared her implants might create long-term health risks.
“I was at that point in my life that I didn’t need any more hassle,” said the 45-year-old San Diego resident, who works as a property manager. “When I first got them, I wanted to conform. Now that I’m in my 40s, I just want to be me.”
British Vogue also recognized the trend but received backlash when its December issue asked, “whatever happened to the cleavage?” The question was sparked by the noticeable lack of pushed-up breasts in haute couture designer clothes on runways and the red carpet.
But just as to enhance their figures with bigger breasts, reducing or removing the saline or silicone implants to achieve a more natural figure doesn’t come cheap.
Dr. Mills, who is also president of the ASAPS, says he performs roughly 110 explant surgeries a year. The cost of the procedure ranges between $8,000 and $12,000.