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  • Everyone is familiar with certain female body stereotypes: the classic hourglass figure, the bottom-heavy pear, the stick-thin runway model, the built-but-butch athletic girl. Men (and other women) have a tendency to mass-classify the female figure into categories that don’t necessarily exclusively apply to any individual woman.

    Take the female athlete, for instance. Just because a woman is strong or muscular doesn’t mean her power has to mask her femininity. Part of what motivates physical fitness (for men or women) is a desire to look one’s best, and some of you ladies who work hard for your bodies might resent being considered more ‘masculine’ than a typical girl. While you shouldn’t let a type get you down, you still want to have the body you deserve. And while exercise and diet can carry you to a certain point, there are some curves you just can’t get on your own – and for those, there are potential surgical solutions.

    Breast augmentation might seem off-limits for physically fit or highly active women. After all, everyone has seen at least a clip of Baywatch, and with all due respect to Pamela Anderson, running with those things just looks uncomfortable. But at the same time, female athletes shouldn’t feel excluded from the realm of plastic surgery. If you want breasts to match the rest of your sculpted figure, then it’s entirely possible that you can have them. And while thin, flat-chested athletes are definitely a stereotype, there are plenty of curvy role-models in professional sports. Venus and Serena Williams are both voluptuous yet fit women, as are golfer Natalie Bulbis and figure skater Anna Semenovich.

    Serena Williams, Breast Implants

    However, if you are considering breast enhancement as an athletic woman, there are factors to be taken into consideration, such as implant size and placement as well as recovery time for those with a stringent work-out schedule.

    Breast Implants, Workout

    Implant Size

    Breast Implant Sizes

    Committed athletes should give careful thought to any plastic surgery procedure that could impact ability in the field (or on the court, or in the gym, or wherever your brand of competition takes place). One concern for a breast enhancement procedure is the size and shape of implants.

    According to Dr. David Shafer, “the added weight and volume to the chest can affect athletic performance.  For instance, if the implants are too wide, they can
    interfere with movement of the arms as the patient is running.  However,
    appropriately sized implants should not cause this problem.”

    Larger implants are generally unadvisable for the physically active woman. Dr. John Di Saia agrees that, “Physically active young women are best served by keeping the implant size small to moderate.”

    Staying on the smaller side might seem like common sense, but the smaller side is a relative term. A woman who is naturally lean or slight in frame should choose an implant that is right for her body, which might mean going even smaller than her initial inclinations.

    The implant material should also be carefully selected. Dr. Robert Oliver recommends, “In general you want to go smaller in volume and use silicone gel implants to minimize weight in this group.  The higher weight per volume of saline devices makes them less well suited…With more conservative implant selection, the chance to affect…normal activities is minimized.”

    Implant Placement

    Brest Implant Placement

    The placement of breast implants is a key issue for athletic women considering the surgery. Because of the importance of pectoral muscles in many physical activities, implants work best when not impeding muscle movement.

    Dr. Oliver explains, “The most favorable position of the implant for very active in women with enough tissue to camouflage it would be subglandular or (preferably) subfascial. That position minimizes downtime, eliminates animation of the pectoralis muscle as a possibility, and does not mechanically affect the muscle function.”

    Subglandular, or over the muscle, placement helps to minimize the interference of the implant with muscle activity. However, one concern with this type of implant for extremely trim patients is having enough excess tissue to adequately disguise or cover the implant. Dr. Shafer recommends subglandular implants, but only “if there is…tissue coverage for the implant.”

    Subfascial, or below the deep thoracic fascia (fascia being the plane on which muscle connects at the upper two-thirds of the breast), is a newer technique that some doctors consider preferable because the implants are inserted beneath muscle tissue. In this way, tissue coverage of the implant is sufficient and there is little risk of muscle movement complications.

    Recovery Time

    Before & After Breast Implant

    As Dr. Shafer notes, “the placement of breast implants is a surgical procedure which requires a recovery time.” Any individual on a rigorous workout schedule should consider the ramifications of time off. According to Dr. Shafer, “While most women are back to their normal activities within a few days, vigorous exercise or sports may have to be delayed for a several weeks while the body heals.”

    Over the long term, breast implants will not likely hinder a woman’s athletic career or physical pursuits. But there is an inevitable short term period that must be honored by any woman undergoing elective surgery. Breast implants are logically not the best choice for a woman involved in intensive training or preparation for a particular physical event or goal.

    That being said, female athletes, and fit women in general, usually heal faster than average after such a surgical procedure. Because of excellent cardiovascular health and good diet choices, a woman who is already in shape will most likely have a speedier than normal recovery. Improved blood flow to the treated area expedites the process, hence female athletes have themselves to thank for less downtime.

    Are breast implants for you?

    Like anyone considering any elective surgery, you as an athletic woman should carefully weigh all of your options before getting implants. The consensus seems to be that upping your cup size won’t cut down on your edge, but you should talk to your plastic surgeon about breast augmentation options before making any decisions.

    Some discomfort resulting from the surgery can occur, and may persist even after the area has healed. Other risks associated with pain or limited range of motion are possible downsides to breast enhancement.

    Still, female athletes don’t have to be pigeonholed into a ‘butch’ stereotype. Every woman should have the body she feels best with, and the physically active are no exception. When you look your best, you perform at the top of your game.

    For more information on breast augmentation, visit Makemeheal.com.

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    Comments

    15 Comments so far

    1. Winning Celebrity Smile on July 6, 2010 3:41 pm

      Every one wants to look good, so you cant blame the girls for a little nip,and tuck where it counts.

    2. m on July 7, 2010 12:37 pm

      The pictures chosen to appear under ‘recovery time’ are far from ideal; who wants to have Snoopy tits?

    3. MM on July 7, 2010 1:02 pm

      LOL. I don’t know what “Snoopy tits” are, but I have to agree.

    4. Sports Star Pro Mary on July 14, 2010 10:54 pm

      Every woman deserves to have a lift, but if you’re an athlete and having an implant would get in the way of your training and in your games, you might as well consider having your breast lifted later.

    5. Sports Star Pro Mary on July 18, 2010 11:01 pm

      Implants come in many sizes, shapes and textures, so it’s vital to consult with a board-certified surgeon first. There is a specific type of material called gel breast implants that are said to look really natural.

    6. SB on July 27, 2010 7:44 am

      I chose to get implants several years ago. My commitment to gym workouts had made my body toned and muscular, but I felt implants would give my figure better balance. No negative effects. I am very happy with them. Now I do triathlon and aslo have no trouble with them. If it makes you feel better about yourself I say go for it.

    7. Sports Star Pro Mary on August 1, 2010 9:55 pm

      For the typical woman, her breasts are a symbol of her femininity in her mind. In fact, they constitute a component of her identity as a woman.

    8. shandor on April 26, 2011 1:27 pm

      Women never seem to get reasonable sized implants that match their frame. They always end up looking like strippers and porn stars. This especially applies to athletic women who dont have any breast fat to hide their skin covered coconuts. Women really should have more self esteem and stop trying to be something they are not.

    9. mark on May 1, 2011 3:04 pm

      Breast implants do not make sense for any woman other than a cancer survivor.

      They are repulsive and show a lack of self esteem!!!!!!!

    10. Shelley on January 22, 2012 6:01 pm

      I am a college volleyball player from Texas. Breast implants proportional to my frame have not hindered my ability to preform in training, compete on the court, or handicapp my willingness to sacrifice my body for the team being a defensive specialist. As a fit beautiful woman my decision to get breast implants was not based on a negative self image or (having accomplished things I had to work hard for) a negative self esteem . Some people will never understand or work through their own self righteousness and judgementality to open their minds to the world plastic surgery has to offer for a multitude of medical and/or personal solutions

    11. nicole on September 10, 2012 2:13 am

      why come on these sites and make negative remarks? thats so stupid, regardless of how a woman feels about herself or whatever, this is an informative site that women like myslef come to for answers and tips and i dont understand the purpose it serves other than that so really spare the negative bs thats dumb find something better to do like look up things you actually want information on and comment on that, gosh, frkn loser.

    12. dani h on March 27, 2013 7:19 am

      i’m regularly saddened by the need of so many athletic women to get breast implants. i love fitness and working out and i have a great body (with a 34A rack), but i feel like i could never compete in a figure or bikini competition because of my unwillingness to get augmented. i have a slender frame and i have never been fat, so my body just didn’t develop breasts like other women. during the pubescent years of my teens when other girls were getting boobs, i was getting a six-pack. boobs are just fat on your chest and sub 18% body fat means no boobs. we put too much emphasis on having fat on our chests, but nowhere else on our bodies, it is physically impossible, hence the implants. yes, mine are small, but they’re also perky and don’t have any stretch marks or weird blue veins. and in fifty years they’ll still be sitting on my chest, where they belong, not hanging by my belly button.

    13. Irene on August 16, 2013 3:39 pm

      I am a long distance runner I run 8 miles a day and I am a size 32B. im very happy with my size I feel bigger breasts would get in the way of my running..i think its difficult for athletic women to have big breasts you don’t see to many athletes with implants…..

    14. CJ married. male. on November 14, 2014 4:38 am

      It is rediculous to say no one should, or everyone should, get implants. It really comes down to the motivation for getting them. Let’s face it, some women have bigger boobs and some have smaller. No matter what size or shape boobs they have, they may not feel confident and you what… That’s ok. There is something they can do about it that is safe and legal.
      If you are wanting to get them to please anyone else, I strongly recommend you take a hard look inside yourself to see if it’s really something else you are desiring (Attention, Closeness, Affection, etc.). If you are changing yourself for others, you will never be happy because opinions differ drastically from person to person. It should be because YOU want them FOR YOU, not so you’re significant other will want you more, or so that the other women are jealous, etc.
      Make sure you take every aspect into consideration; the cost, healing time, as well as possible complications from surgery, before you make up your mind. THIS is all about Y O U.

    15. CJ married. male. on November 14, 2014 4:40 am

      *know what
      sorry, got going a little too fast.

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