What’s Love Got to Do With It?

In honor of Valentine’s Day, you’ll find some questions and answers below about cosmetic breast surgery and relationships. They are excerpted from The Scoop on Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths, which I wrote with my wife, Joyce, my childhood sweetheart.

Can I see your license and registration?
On Valentine’s Day, famous pairs come to mind, like Romeo and Juliet, Hillary and Bill, and Beyonce and Jay-Z. Here are some other pairs that we read about in online forums, where women shared the names they chose for their “girls.” In many cases, they called their breasts by boys’ names! Breast nicknames don’t seem to be interchangeable: Women were specific about which name went with their right breast and which went with their left breast. Here’s a sampling:

  • License and Registration
  • Shock and Awe (Dolly Partons’ choice)
  • Ben and Jerry
  • Tweety and Sylvester
  • Thelma and Louise
  • Bill and Ted (“because they have excellent adventures”)
  • Bogie and Bacall (“old style but still a classic pair”)
  • Dyan and Pachelbel (“two great canons”)

Can you keep a secret?
Lauren (not her real name) got when she was married to her first husband. When she remarried, she kept it a secret from her second husband, which created a challenge when she decided to get bigger implants. Husband No. 2 thought it was her first surgery and asked to come to the consultation with her. When Lauren called to schedule her appointment, she asked us to pretend that we had never met her.

Stephanie (not her real name) was one of my breast augmentation patients. When her 22-year-old daughter expressed interest in implants, Stephanie recommended me but didn’t tell her daughter why. She never admitted that she had an augmentation because she was afraid her daughter couldn’t keep a secret, so I had to.

Will my boyfriend know that I have breast implants?
Most women look natural and proportional after their breast augmentation surgery and can keep it a secret if they are so inclined. If they are ever in the mood, they can choose to show off “the girls.”

One patient told us that she had been with her boyfriend for more than a year. When he complimented her on her “perfect breasts,” she simply said thank you. He didn’t find out that she had implants until he looked through one of her old photo albums and saw a picture of her at the beach – before her surgery. He still thought her breasts were perfect!

After my augmentation, can I let my partner touch my breasts?
Your breasts may look like a masterpiece, but there’s no need to hang a “Please Don’t Touch the Art” sign on them. Breast augmentation is an investment that you can enjoy. There’s no need for a “You Break It, You Buy It” sign either. Your breast implants aren’t fragile.

My partner wants me to get breast implants. What do you think?
If you said this to me in consultation, I would ask if you wanted breast implants. If you said you were happy with how you look, I would tell you to go home. The surgery has to be for you, not to please someone else. Only a few women out of 6,000 have ever asked me this question. Although many men have the fantasy that women get implants to make them happy, they are wrong. Women get implants to make themselves happy. Sorry guys.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter written by the husband of one of my patients: “My wife was unhappy with the size of her breasts for years, basically as long as I have known her. I honestly didn’t understand it: I knew she was smaller than most women, but I didn’t care. I liked her how she was. She never complained, but she did mention it every so often. After 25 years, I still didn’t “get it,” but knowing how important it was to her, I finally agreed to support her idea to get surgery.

“If I were to give advice to the partner of a potential patient, I’d say the following: If this is important to your significant other, support and embrace the change, because the benefits of this surgery for us extended way beyond any cost of time, money and recovery.” You can read more letters like this here.

Ashes to ashes, dust to bust: When her husband died in a car accident, a young Australian woman allegedly had his ashes sewn into her breast implants so she could keep him close to her heart. The news generated a lot of online comments, such as, “Now his relatives will always look at her boobs and cry.”