What Does the "Perfect Breast" Look Like? The Newest Trend in Augmentation Might Not Be What You Think

Jager Weatherby on 3 Nov 2014 at 5:30pm


All that’s needed is a quick sweep through the  breast augmentation community on RealSelf to notice the trend: While the procedure is among the top three researched treatments in 2014 (and has also remained the most performed cosmetic surgery in the U.S. since 2006), women considering augmentation seem to have a hard time dissociating breasts implants from porn stars.

  • “I was very against breast implants for most of my adult life. I viewed them as something that only porn stars got.” — RealSelf user SDattorney
  • “I was really afraid I would come out of surgery looking like a porn star and then everyone would know I had breast implants.” — RealSelf user newboobs88
  • “I don't want porn star boobs by any means, but I don't want to go so small that it isn't worth it either.” — RealSelf user peppertree81

The assumption appears to be widespread: porn stars = large boobs; large boobs = “fake and obnoxious.”

But what if it’s not really about the size, as so many of us have come to believe? After all, most of us know at least one woman with naturally large breasts who we don’t think comes across looking fake. The worry when considering implants seems to be about “everyone knowing” that the implants are there — an issue that arises not because of size, but due to unnatural-looking ratios.

Upper Pole to Lower Pole Ratio

According to a new study conducted by plastic surgeons Olivier Branford and Patrick Mallucci, the key to the ideal breast is all about the math. The doctors asked 1,315 respondents (both men and women of a variety of ages and ethnic backgrounds) to rank the attractiveness of four women with varying breast sizes. Each of the women’s breasts were morphed into four different proportions (35:65, 45:55; 50:50, and 55:45), based on the percentage of the breast above and below the nipple.

What the doctors found was that the upper-to-lower pole ratio of 45:55 was rated the most natural and attractive, regardless of individual demographics. “Our findings have shown that the same proportions are universally preferred regardless of absolute breast size,” Dr. Mallucci tells RealSelf. “Breast size is independent of the features that define the ideal breast,” adds Dr. Branford. “Women can be small and beautiful or big and beautiful. It’s for the women to choose.”

Model Breasts Morphed Into Different RatiosPerhaps the most interesting part of the study was the discrepancy between men and women. While both genders overwhelming preferred the 45:55 ratio, 90% of men selected this proportion versus 82% of women. “This suggests that men actually prefer more natural appearing breasts than do women,” the doctors conclude in the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “This is in stark contrast to previously misplaced assumptions that men prefer oversized or ‘fake’ breasts, a view that has long been held as a clichéd interpretation of male preference.”

All too often, plastic surgery gets a bad reputation for promoting a fake and distorted image. Through their study, doctors Branford and Mallucci hope to “take the guess work out of remedial and reconstructive surgery” by changing how breast augmentation is performed in a way that respects the natural shape.

So what does this mean for a woman considering breast augmentation? “It gives women a language with which to describe what they want their surgeon to achieve,” explains Dr. Mallucci. “It frees women from the confines of unnatural results and outdated implant marketing strategies. It also provides surgeons a surgical template that gives them both an aim and an aspiration to respect the natural beauty of women and their breasts.”

Although Dr. Mallucci says not every woman can be surgically enhanced to an exact 45:55 ratio, by getting closer to this proportion, breasts become more natural-looking. “We will shortly be publishing the results of our latest study where we have identified a 'Magic Formula' — an equation that shows us exactly how to plan breast surgery to get beautiful results with over 99% accuracy.”

On top of providing doctors with a framework for delivering excellent outcomes, what we hope this study will do is open up a dialogue about the way cosmetic surgery is viewed. With the frequency at which breast augmentation is performed (and for a variety of reasons from wanting a little confidence boost to reconstruction after mastectomy), “plastic surgery” and “porn stars” don’t need to be used in the same sentence.


Photo credits: Courtesy of Drs. Olivier Branford and Patrick Mallucci via the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons