When it comes to the perfect breast, the ideal is a matter of proportions. According to a recent study described in the American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s official medical journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the preference for a breast with an “upper pole to lower pole ratio of 45-to-55” is nearly universal.
Researchers performed surveys using images of various sized breasts that had been manipulated with Photoshop to meet certain proportional guidelines. For the purposes of the study, the nipple was used as a landmark with the upper pole being the area above it and the lower pole the area below. Regardless of their gender, age, race or ethnicity, the more than 1,300 respondents overwhelmingly preferred the natural shape of the breast with 45 percent of the fullness at the top and the 55 percent below the nipple. This ratio was favored no matter what size breast was pictured.
While it has long been assumed that men generally prefer an oversized, top-heavy look in breasts, 90 percent of the men in the study expressed a preference for the more naturally shaped breast with a 45-55 ratio. It was actually women over the age of 40 who tended to favor the more top-heavy breast; researchers theorize this may be a reaction to the natural loss of upper pole fullness as women age.
What implications do these findings have for breast augmentations? One of the most popular plastic surgery procedures, breast augmentations involve the surgical placement of saline or silicone implants within the breast to create a fuller, more youthful looking breast. The study’s researchers suggest that their findings regarding the practically universal preference for the 45-55 ration should be used by plastic surgeons as an “aesthetic template” when planning and performing breast augmentations and other procedures that shape the breast like breast lifts, breast reconstructions and breast reductions.
Award-winning plastic surgeon Dr. Shahram Salemy agrees that this research provides a good starting point, but cautions that doctors should also be guided by the individual patient’s preference. “Some of the goals of breast augmentation have to come from an open conversation between the plastic surgeon and the patient at her consult. Some women want a fuller look at the top of the breast. Others want less. A one-size-fits-all mindset isn’t appropriate here, but this research offers a great place for doctors and their patients to begin.”
A board certified plastic surgeon and clinical instructor for the University of Washington’s Department of Surgery’s Division of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Salemy provides a variety of cosmetic surgery procedures to patients at his offices in Seattle and Richland, Washington. He uses personalized treatment plans to see that every patient receives the outstanding, lasting results they deserve.
To schedule a private consultation with Dr. Salemy, call (206) 467-1101 or email the Seattle office.