Women who regularly engage in athletic activities often find that their breast size is affected by any accompanying weight loss, as breasts are partially composed of fatty tissue. To maintain a feminine figure while engaging in a serious exercise regimen that lowers body fat percentage, athletic women may choose breast augmentation. Designing the appropriate surgical approach, as well as the type of implant used, depends on a variety of factors, all of which should be discussed with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.
- Placement. In certain activities, such as racquet sports, golf, or weight lifting, the body mechanics involved may increase the chances that an implant will be noticed. An implant interferes less with muscle activity and is not as visible when placed under the muscle (submuscular). The surgery takes longer and requires more recovery time than an implant placed above the muscle (subglandular), but the more natural-appearing results are worth the extra effort.
- Implant type. Implants are filled with either saline or silicone gel. Silicone gel implants have a more natural feel, particularly for trim women who typically have less skin and tissue to cover the implant. Each body is different, however, and the choice of breast implant type should be made with the input of a plastic surgeon.
- Profile and location. Implant profile can be an important decision for the active woman; the profile refers to how far the implant projects from the body. A rock climber, for example, may prefer a moderate profile that will allow maximum mobility. Implants placed too wide on the chest wall could interfere with arm movement.
- Size. To restore natural proportions, the athletic woman who has lost breast mass as a result of exercise should consider her initial breast size and the size of her frame. Smaller-framed women may find that going too large will cause back pain and discomfort, while women who were more well-endowed may simply want to return to their previous cup size.
- Performance. Large, heavy implants could negatively impact runners and swimmers, while the added weight of implants can affect biomechanics of the body, particularly posture. Fuller breasts for runners and other athletes are possible after consultation with a plastic surgeon, who can help design the appropriate surgical approach to reach the desired results without compromising performance.
- Recovery time. As with any surgery, some restriction of activity is inevitable. Because athletic women tend to be healthier, recovery from breast enhancement may be somewhat faster than normal. A patient should discuss her recovery timetable with her medical team.
Because implants are engineered to withstand stress and force, breast enhancement shouldn’t be a hindrance to any athletic activity. Breast augmentation for athletic women can help restore a feminine silhouette without compromising a healthy, active lifestyle.