THE BREAST IN OUR TIMES
By Dr. Francisco Bucio
Certified Plastic Surgeon
“The little prince”
When we think about breasts in today’s society, we immediately think of images such as Pamela Anderson, Victoria’s Secret models or the Sports illustrated calendar.
However, as incredible as it may appear, this breast “liberation” is as recent as the end of the 20th century, thanks to the social movements, especially the feminist one, during which women burned their bras as a symbol of freedom and ownership of their bodies.
According to Marilyn Yalon in her book “A history of the breast”, women have finally taken possession of their breasts since the discussion of breast cancer, not just dealing with the suffering of the disease which apparently is growing every day, but taking part in the decision making as to the different treatment options offered. This includes chemo, mastectomy, therapy groups, family therapy etc.
Breast perception has suffered a radical transformation through out history. Nowadays, in the occidental society specially among men, it is a sexual symbol, a fetish, just like for Latin-Americans are the glutes, the neck for the Japanese or small feet for the Chinese.
It’s oldest symbolic representation is at least 23,000 years old, with the Venus of Grimaldi, and the goddess Iris breast feeding young Horus from the Egyptian culture, or the Greek Goddess Artemis adorned with 20 breasts in the II century, or Aphrodite in the year IV B.C. not to exclude the creation of our Milky Way through the milk that the Greek Goddess Hera spilled when refused to keep on breastfeeding Hercules.
And you may ask yourself : What are breasts? And who do them belong to?
To the baby that needs to be breast-fed? to men for sexual pleasure? to the adult movie director? to the lingerie designer? to the doctor for his diagnosis? to church for its censorship? to the psychoanalyst for his Freudian theories? or the artist for his own interpretation?
The response from my point of view is very simple: They Belong to women.
Truth be said, we are the product of society in which we live in. Women are constantly bombarded by television, magazines and publicity from us the plastic surgeons.
I think there should be a balance. We shouldn’t be carried away only by what the fashion tendency dictates, nor go back to the age where women needed to accept simply what “God gave them”.
For example in the field of plastic surgery, if a woman decides to modify her breasts (or other parts of her body), first there should be an auto evaluation as to the purpose of taking that decision; is it to satisfy your partner?, is it for keeping up with fashion? Is it to substitute an emotional deficiency? Or is it for the right reason, the way it should be; a very personal and well thought out decision that will improve their appearance and enhance self esteem; because a larger bust size will not prevent the husband from looking at other women, nor detain an imminent divorce or substitute a lost lover or attract a new one. What it will do is, that these woman will acquire a higher self esteem irradiating assurance and confidence and a general state of happiness within her and with others.
Modern Alternative procedures in plastic surgery are many, the equipment has improved, now implants are made from cohesive silicone gel which will not leak if they rupture, techniques also have improved. We are currently using a the subfascial technique for breast augmentation. This technique consists in placing the implant under the muscle-fascia (the hard white part of the muscle) ; the benefits of this procedure are that they provide the same aesthetic result from those of the submuscular technique, with a soft edge, being anatomically correct, it is more precise and less painful and do not produce a “dynamic” post-surgery pectoral deformation.
Another technique that is winning a lot of acceptance is the breast augmentation through fat injections. Never the less this technique is reserved for special reconstructive cases such as implant rejection. This technique does not substitute implants.
The subject of Breasts will continuously change according to the evolution of our culture and civilization. For the time being we should take advantage of this window of opportunity opened for women and let them decide in terms of their bodies, reproductive health, mind and her own breasts.