Who needs breast implants?
What is a 'deformed breast'?

Do you need breast implants?

The majority of American women are not happy with their breasts, and that makes the majority of women potential customers for the breast augmentation/breast implant industry.  The media and the ads may be the main influence in getting women to believe their breasts are "inadequate" but breast augmentation websites and breast implant industry are happy to feed the fire with their usage of language.

In essence they want to leave the impression that asymmetrical breasts, small breasts, sagging breasts, large areolas, small nipples, etc. are deformities - something supposedly not formed well, out of form - or instances where the breast didn't "fully develop" or is "underdeveloped".

By classifying many of these normal variations in breast shape as breast deformity, the surgeons can then be ready to "correct" these "problems" and "deformities" and "lack of development".

Shouldn't we rather classify breast development in terms of milk ducts and the milk producing cells - the glandular tissue??

See for example these examples taken from various breast implant websites. (You'll need to copy & paste the web addresses to your browser's address bar; we're not going to link to them directly).

"Breast deformities can be developmental or post surgical. They can be associated with size differences, shape differences or scarring related to implants or previous surgeries. Developmental Deformities ...can present during puberty as asymmetric breast development with one breast being much larger then the other or associated with strange shapes of the breast."

"Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure to increase the size of the breasts. It is usually performed to enlarge small, underdeveloped breasts that have decreased in size after pregnancy. It can also be performed in cases of breast deformity, or where one breast has not developed in proper symmetry with the other."

About 60% of women have a bra cup size A or B so in reality "small" breasts are the majority and cannot be called "underdeveloped".  If the only standard of beauty are the supermodels with huge breasts, it is no wonder everybody has started considering the normal and the usual breasts as 'small'.  Also, the majority of women have (at least slightly) asymmetrical breasts (just as most men have one testicle hanging lower than the other)- so in reality asymmetry of the breasts is the norm and symmetry is the rarer occasion!  We need to wake up from the fallacy that media and plastic surgeons are airing to us!

Now, it is possible to have true under-developed (hypoplastic) breasts where there is little glandular tissue.  This is a congenital deformity, showing as very small, widely-spaced breasts with a tubular shape (see a picture on a different page) Women with hypoplastic breasts often have milk supply problems.

In the US society such a woman is very likely to feel a need for breast implants to look normal - and nobody can blame her for that.  If the media culture didn't value breast size to such an extreme, even these women would have it easier and not feel such a pressure.  (Personally, I wouldn't choose breast implant surgery in any case because of the very high complication rate, a definite risk for systemic health-crippling disease, and the fact that it would only further diminish the chances of successful breastfeeding.)

The breast surgery physicians are not excluding children and teenagers; on the contrary it sounds like at least some of them welcome young patients:

All teenagers are self-conscious about their body image. But no adolescent, girl or boy, should have to constantly worry about their breasts. Boys shouldn't have to bind their breasts to flatten them, and girls shouldn't have to pad their bras or fear the padding may move or fall out. Plastic surgeons can remove at least those pressures from these teens' lives.

But the worst of it is perhaps how The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons wants us to believe that small breasts are a DISEASE!  This is what they wrote in their petition to FDA in support of breast implants in 1982:

"There is a common misconception that the enlargement of the female breast is not necessary for maintenance of health or treatment of disease. There is a substantial and enlarging body of medical information and opinion however, to the effect that these deformities (small breasts) are really a disease which in most patients results in feelings of inadequacy, lack of self-confidence, distortion of body image and a total lack of well-being due to a lack of self-perceived femininity. The enlargement of the under-developed female breast is therefore, often very necessary to insure an improved quality of life for the patient." (emphasis mine)

This would mean (according to the organized plastic surgery) that most women have a disease and are in need of a breast augmentation procedure.  The TRUTH is quite contrary.  The "small breasts" they are talking about are the average and typical breasts.  In fact, it sounds strange, but the breast augmentation websites are great places to see normal female breasts.  The BEFORE pictures in their before/after galleries usually show a collection of perfectly average size breasts.  It is as though the surgeons wish to point out to the reader that "This is the size of breast that needs augmented", when in reality those breasts were just fine-looking and AVERAGE size (cup B) before surgery.  The fact that all those women chose breast implants shows sadly that many American women have internalized the doctrine of BEAUTY = BIG BREASTS that the beauty industry and organized plastic surgery constantly present to them in the media images.

Now, a little thinking experiment.  Picture a head, hands, and feet to these upper torsos.  Imagine it is your sister, your daughter, your mother, your friend - someone you know.

small breasts of a 20-year old small breast sagging breasts
If she was your friend, would you advice her to have surgery to have her 'boob job' done? If she was your sister, would you feel she is less intelligent or less of a person, or lacking somehow, because her breasts have a 'lack of development'? If she was your mother, would you feel that the breasts that fed you are deformed and need 'a lift'?

Yet that's exactly what the breast surgery proponents, ads, and media forces try to say to women - not outright or in those words, but in implications and indirectly.  If you wouldn't comment on your friend's, sister's, or mother's breasts in such a way, why let the beauty industry and organized plastic surgery tell you that exact message?

You talk about a money-making scheme in a medical community, there you have one!  And surgeons doing breast augmentations are faring well.  In the year 2002 over 240,000 women got breast implants. In year 2003 it increased to 280,401 women - a huge increase from 32,607 in 1992.

The public has been led to believe for years that breast implants are safe and that they practically are life-long devices that need no care.  That is simply not true - and never has been.  Implants do rupture at some point; the more time passes, the more probable it becomes.  They will need replaced or removed.  The local complication rates are high and within 10-12 years, most women will need at least one additional surgery.

Even the myth of breast implants improving mental health does not hold water.  Inamed’s (a breast implant manufacturer) recent "core study" of silicone breast implants studied complication rates and also evaluated patients' mental health and quality of life before and after receiving breast implants.  It was found that on average, women reported poorer health or mental health after implants compared to before.  Almost every measure of emotional and physical health, including social relationships and self-esteem, declined after getting breast implants.  The only improvements were in self-reported sexual attractiveness.

It is high time we quit believing that an anorectic ally thin female body with huge 'boobs' is "beautiful" or "ideal".  Hopefully you have visited the breast gallery page on this site and other pages, and can agree that normal and typical female breast varies a lot in size and shape; that most women actually have asymmetrical breasts; that breasts are for breastfeeding and not to make products sell better.

And it isn't enough to just not believe this mentally, because the pictures surrounding you still affect your mind on subconscious level.  To spare our daughters, we need to protect them from exposure to most women's magazines, to television soap operas, and other warped presentations of woman's body, and instead provide some healthy materials body-image-wise for the developing minds.

One good alternative is New Moon - an advertisement free magazine for girls ages 8-14.  If you know of other resources and materials for kids and teens that support healthy body image, let us know and we will publish them on the site.


Sources & resources

FDA’s October 2003 Summary of Research on Inamed Implants. Complications and symptoms.

BREAST IMPLANT RISKS from FDA. - The Implant Information Project
A web site sponsored by National Center for Policy Research (CPR) for Women & Families. The Implant Information Project tries to give women access to accurate, unbiased information.
Silicone Holocaust website talks about the dangers of breast augmentation surgeries and has some extremely graphical pictures. Not for faint-minded.

Recent trends with implants

8.3 Million Cosmetic Procedures in 2003: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Reports 20 Percent Increase

She’s Got Nothing? A Look at the Ballooning Cosmetic Breast Implant Industry by Mary Kinnunen.

You can't wear your self-esteem on your chest
News article how record numbers of parents are giving their teenage daughters breast implants for high school graduation.

An Imperfect Solution
Saline breast implants are touted as a safe alternative to silicone. But some women still get sick from them.

Other interesting websites

Tit4Tat - Stomping on breast implant hype with the "no silicone, no saline, no sir!" attitude. They also have humorous Safe breast implants pictures 


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Disclaimer: Information here is not medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, nor to replace the advice you could get from a health professional. If you are in doubt, please see a doctor (or several). So if you're in doubt, and especially if you have some other symptoms, please see a doctor.