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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.none