Two years ago, women rarely asked Newport Beach plastic surgeon Dr. Milind K. Ambe for smaller breasts. These days, more than 70 patients a year want to downsize — and, if possible, completely remove — their implants.
“I’m typically seeing women who are [cup size] DD or larger who got implants many years prior,” Dr. Ambe said. “They simply want to go much smaller and if possible, be without implants.” These women have something else in common: They’ve hit menopause.
“We’re no longer opting to ‘super size’ our French fries or our breast implants.”
“They just don’t want their breasts to be a focal point of their image as much,” said Seattle plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Baxter who often works with women in their late 30s to mid-50s who want to reduce or remove their implants. This year alone he’s removed 16 sets of implants and replaced four sets for smaller cup sizes — many in postmenopausal women.
Going “explant” is all the more enticing when women learn they can get a full look without implants. That’s thanks to many of the changes women often dislike about aging: sagging, weight gain, and hormones. All three can increase the size of a woman’s breasts, said Las Vegas plastic surgeon Dr. Hayley Brown.
“It’s remarkable to see relatively large breasts after implant removal,” said Dr. Brown, who’s now operating on five times as many implant removal patients compared to several years ago. “After the procedure, most women fit nicely into a B or C cup.”
That would have been considered small by many women just a handful of years ago but plastic surgeons say fashions are changing. Increasingly, women of all ages ask for smaller breasts, whether they’re getting implants for the first time, switching them out later in life, or removing them all together.
Dr. Lavinia K. Chong has explanted more than 150 patients since 2011. She said her Orange County clients often pick B cups to fit physiques toned by the likes of CrossFit, yoga, and pilates. “[Tastes are moving] away from the 1980s ‘glamour’ models,” says Dr. Chong. “We’re no longer opting to ‘super size’ our French fries or our breast implants.”
Changing tastes make implant removal and reduction all the more attractive to middle-aged women interested in downsizing. Not only is it what they want, it’s fashionable.
Such was the case for Jane*. She first got breast implants at age 37. Eleven years later, the mother of two explained how 20 pounds of post-menopausal weight gain “ballooned” her breasts up to size 36FF. “Not my idea of small,” she wrote in her RealSelf review.
The day she removed her implants, Jane says she immediately felt different. “I’m so happy,” she wrote mere hours after surgery. “I feel light.”
Interested in learning more about any of these procedures? Ask a doctor.
*Name has been changed to protect user’s privacy.