Are Smaller Breasts — and Breast Implants — Truly a Trend?

If you’re considering breast augmentation and have done any research on the Internet, it’s likely you’ve come across a lot of blogs and articles declaring that the “bigger is better” era has come to an end. Downsizing breasts and breast implants — either through breast implant replacement, breast reduction surgery, or simply choosing implants that offer a more “natural” look — appears to be a full-fledged trend.

Of course, what looks natural is subjective to begin with. On the Bratabase website, which is designed to help women choose the best-fitting bras for their breasts, they list 19 separate breast shapes. That’s right, 19.

But most plastic surgeons appear to agree that they are hearing the word “natural” more and more from women describing their cosmetic goals for breast augmentation. A survey of board-certified specialists conducted by the popular RealSelf website confirmed patients appear to less interested in getting larger breast implants than in the past.


About 40% of the surgeons responding to the survey said “more of their female patients opted for smaller implants compared to patients in 2014. In fact, when asked how breast ideals have changed this year, plastic surgeons were twice as likely to select ‘More women want smaller breast implants’ over ‘More women want bigger breast implants.'”

There is even a name for smaller breast augmentation: the “Brazilian B.” Brazil is one of the few countries that rivals the U.S. in the number of breast enhancement procedures performed annually, but women in the South American country tend to prefer smaller, perkier breasts.

“Surgeons are seeing a definite shift in the look many women are asking for, away from the very round, prominent ‘stripper boob’ toward something more in keeping with their natural shape,” Daniel Mills, MD, president-elect of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), told “It’s early in the trend, and not every woman is on board — I had a 50-year-old patient just yesterday who wanted to be a G-cup! — but we seem to be moving away from the ‘bigger is better’ attitude.”


Not everyone agrees that B is the new D when it comes to the ideal cup size. A recent article published by Cosmetic Surgery Times discusses a study of U.S. women presented in late 2015 at a United Kingdom event. “The research … suggests the ‘fake’ breast look, more commonly associated with breast augmentation, is becoming increasingly appealing to American women,” the article says. “Yes, you read that right. The study authors attribute this phenomenon to women wanting to connect to celebrity culture and defy the aging process.”

Even though the popularity of television shows such as Mad Men may have pointed the trend toward larger breast sizes, most evidence indicates that more women prefer breast sizes that are in closer proportion to the rest of their features. So 2016 will likely see smaller breasts as one key trend.

And the interest in smaller breasts extends beyond women considering augmentation, according to the RealSelf survey of surgeons. They are performing more breast reduction procedures now than ever before, with much of the interest coming from teens. Some of that interest may be attributed to the publicity surrounding 17-year-old Modern Family star Ariel Winter’s decision to undergo breast reduction surgery in late 2015.


The interest in breast reduction is understandable, says Dr. Robert Cohen, a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in breast reduction and breast augmentation in Santa Monica, California. “Many patients describe breast reduction as the lifting of a huge burden — literally!,” Dr. Cohen says on his website. “For me, it’s one of the most gratifying procedures to perform, because it not only creates a more proportional, uplifted and youthful breast, it also provides relief from the back, neck, and shoulder pain, bra strap grooving, skin irritation, and other physical problems that come with large, heavy breasts.”

Whether this trend endures remains to be seen. In the meantime, anyone considering getting breast implants, removing breast implants, or getting a breast reduction should do a lot of research and choose a board-certified plastic surgeon to achieve the best and safest results.