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Study Redefines the Ideal Female Buttocks Most Now Rate a Curvier Shape Most Attractive

What's the "ideal" female behind? Most of us now favor a more dramatic and "curvier" shape than the previous standard, reports a survey study in the June issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

While the trend may be driven by reality TV stars, it's an important piece of information for plastic surgeons as they meet the growing demand for cosmetic gluteoplasty, or buttock augmentation. Dr. Wendy Wing-Heen Wong and colleagues of Loma Linda (Calif.) University Department of Plastic Surgery write, "The information derived from this study has the potential to guide gluteoplasty practices and techniques."

Survey Reflects Evolving Preferences in Female Shape

The researchers performed a population survey to solicit opinions on the most attractive female buttocks. Posterior (from behind) and lateral (from the side) photographs were edited to illustrate varying proportions, based on the ratio of the waist and hip measurements. For example, in the picture showing a waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) of 0.65, the waist measurement was equal to 65 percent of the hip measurement. Other "vertical proportions" were considered as well.

Surveys were distributed by social media platforms. Nearly 1,150 responses were received, from similar numbers of women and men. The responses were analyzed in terms of age range, gender, ethnicity, and nationality of the respondents.

From the posterior view, the top selection was an image with a WHR of 0.65-selected by about 44 percent of respondents. This was followed by a WHR of 0.60, selected by 25 percent. Preferences were similar across subgroups, with little or no difference by age, gender, or race/ethnicity.

But from the lateral view, most respondents chose a flatter profile, with a WHR of 0.70 or greater. Nearly half selected a photo showing a "50:50 vertical ratio"-with the most prominent portion of the buttocks situated at the midpoint.

The results suggest that preferences have evolved toward a more voluptuous shape for the female behind, Dr. Wong and coauthors believe. "This may be the consequence of prominent exposure and desensitization of the general population to reality stars and celebrities with curvier figures," Dr. Wong and colleagues write.

In the past, a WHR of 0.70 has often been cited as the ideal. But that "standard" was based on subjective sources-for example, the opinions of plastic surgeons or the measurements of beauty pageant winners or centerfold models. In the study, only about six percent of respondents in their rated 0.70 was the most attractive WHR from the posterior view.

And yet, from the lateral view, most respondents did rate a WHR of 0.70 as the most attractive. Putting these two preferences together, the researchers write, "Respondents prefer a more dramatic appearance in the posterior view with a smaller waist and a larger and a more voluptuous buttock. However, in the lateral view, a less enhanced shape is preferred."

Those preferences may help to guide plastic surgeons in planning their approach for the growing number of women seeking cosmetic gluteoplasty. According to ASPS statistics, nearly 12,000 women underwent buttock enhancement in 2015 (using fat injection or implant placement)-an increase of nearly 30 percent compared to 2014. Dr. Wong and colleagues add, "Ultimately, the aesthetic targeted during gluteoplasty procedures should be that which is most desirable to the patient."

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® is published by Wolters Kluwer.

Click here to read "Redefining the Ideal Buttocks: A Population Analysis."

Article: "Redefining the Ideal Buttocks: A Population Analysis" (doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000002192.)

About Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

For more than 70 years, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® has been the one consistently excellent reference for every specialist who uses plastic surgery techniques or works in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. The official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® brings subscribers up-to-the-minute reports on the latest techniques and follow-up for all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including breast reconstruction, experimental studies, maxillofacial reconstruction, hand and microsurgery, burn repair, and cosmetic surgery, as well as news on medico-legal issues.

About ASPS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the world's largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons. Representing more than 7,000 Member Surgeons, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. ASPS advances quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery. 

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