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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2003 Jul;112(1):312-20; discussion 321-2.

Differences in breast shape preferences between plastic surgeons and patients seeking breast augmentation.

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Section of Plastic Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn 06520, USA.


There has been little discussion in the published literature regarding breast shape preferences. This study was conducted to ascertain previously undocumented differences in breast shape preferences between plastic surgeons and patients seeking breast augmentation, with respect to upper-pole contour. Sixty-six respondents, grouped into three cohort categories (plastic surgeons, breast augmentation patients, and lay people), were asked to evaluate a series of 12 nonptotic breast profiles representing a range of upper-pole contours. Five profiles exhibited convex upper-pole contours, five exhibited concave contours, and two exhibited upper poles with flat slopes. A five-point Likert-type scale was used to rate attractiveness, naturalness, how close the shape was to each respondent's personal ideal, and how close the shape was to what the respondent believed was our society's ideal. Statistical comparisons were made among the three cohorts. The plastic surgeon cohort (n = 11) rated concave upper-pole contours significantly higher than did the patient cohort (n = 13) for attractiveness, naturalness, and personal ideal (p < 0.01). For convex contours, the plastic surgeon cohort gave significantly lower scores than did the patient cohort (p < 0.01). The lay category (n = 42) demonstrated preferences intermediate between those of the other groups. There are no known studies in the literature documenting the breast shape preferences of plastic surgeons and their patients. This study suggests that plastic surgeons and patients seeking breast augmentation may have drastically different images in mind regarding what constitutes an attractive, natural, and ideal breast shape. These findings have potential implications for patient treatment and satisfaction.

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