American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Breast augmentation – natural vs augmented results


Most breast augmentation patients focus their treatment plan on the enhancement of their breasts while still maintaining an overall natural appearance. During consultations, women are often concerned about going "too big" for their body frame and instead focus on choosing implant sizes that are more natural looking.

This natural trend was not always the case. Throughout most of the 90s, the overreaching trend was focused on achieving a larger, more augmented look (think Pamela Anderson on Baywatch).

There is still some demand for the augmented look. Indeed, some patients seek a procedure that produces dramatic results, and rightly so! This post will cover the differences between natural and augmented appearing breast enhancement, along with how each result can be achieved.

The natural look

Natural-results focused breast enhancement strives to enlarge the breasts while maintaining a natural looking silhouette. This involves choosing a breast implant size that complements the natural figure. Obviously the biggest advantage of natural appearing breast augmentation is that no one will know you're augmented unless you want them to know.

Characteristics of "the natural look" include

  • Breasts that have a mild slope toward the nipple;
  • Breasts with most of the volume occurring in the lower half;
  • Nipples that sit on the part of the breast with the most projection;
  • Breasts that don't sit too high (mid-arm level is the sweet spot);
  • Breasts that feel and move like natural breast tissue.

How "the natural look" is achieved

Creating a natural appearance is part art and part science. To make sure the final results appear as natural as possible, experienced plastic surgeons must assess the patients current body frame while envisioning how many variables (implant size and shape, natural breast tissue amount, implant placement, etc.) will alter the body's appearance. While each woman is unique, achieving more natural results usually include:

  • Sub-muscular implant placement;
  • Choosing moderate profile implants;
  • Limiting breast implant size to keep the breasts in proportion to the rest of the patient's body;
  • A focus on limiting the width of the breast implant;
  • Utilizing teardrop shape implants in cases where the patient has little to no natural breast tissue.

The augmented look

An augmented appearance is one where the breasts are accentuated. One could argue that the demand for the augmented look comes from Hollywood, where unnaturally large breasts and the attention they bring are celebrated. However, a significant portion of men and women alike gravitate toward "the augmented look" which has kept the trend alive.

Characteristics of "the augmented look" include

  • Breasts positioned high on the chest;
  • Prominent cleavage (creating a push-up bra effect while not wearing a bra);
  • Large breasts in proportion to the body's silhouette;
  • Dramatic contouring around the breasts.

How "the augmented look" is achieved

There are a few techniques for creating more augmented appearing results. These choices include:

  • Sub-glandular (over the chest muscle) implant placement;
  • Choosing high profile implants;
  • Choosing a large implant size that is disproportional to the patient's body.

Ultimately the patient should decide what type of outcome she is seeking. However, your surgeon can assist and guide the decision-making process when determining which implant style and surgical techniques is best suited for the individual's body and desired outcome.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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