Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Which is the Ideal Breast Size?: Some Social Clues for Plastic Surgeons

Raposio, Edoardo MD, PhD; Belgrano, Valerio MD; Santi, PierLuigi MD; Chiorri, Carlo PhD

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000000471

To provide plastic surgeons with more detailed information as to factors affecting the perception of female attractiveness, the present study was aimed to investigate whether the interaction effect of breast and body size on ratings of female attractiveness is moderated by sociodemographic variables and whether ratings of shapeliness diverge from those of attractiveness.

A community sample of 958 Italian participants rated the attractiveness and the shapeliness of 15 stimuli (5 breast sizes × 3 body sizes) in which frontal, 3/4, and profile views of the head and torso of a faceless woman were jointly shown.

Bigger breast sizes obtained the highest attractiveness ratings, but the breast-by-body size interaction was also significant. Evidence was found of a moderator role of sex, marital status, and age. When the effects of breast and body size and their interaction had been ruled out, sex differences were at best very slight and limited to very specific combinations of breast and body sizes. Ratings of attractiveness and shapeliness were highly correlated and did not significantly differ.

Results suggest that to address women’s psychological needs, concerns, and expectations about their appearance, plastic surgeons should not simply focus on breast size but should carefully consider the "big picture": the body in its entirety.

From the *Department of Surgical Sciences, Plastic Surgery Chair, Parma, Italy; Cutaneous, Mininvasive, Regenerative and Plastic Surgery Division, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma, Parma, Italy; †General Surgery Division, San Martino Hospital, Genova, Italy; ‡Department of Surgery and Integrated Methodologies, University of Genoa, Genova, Italy; and §Department of Educational Sciences, Psychology Section, University of Genoa, Genova, Italy.

Received July 25, 2014, and accepted for publication, after revision, December 22, 2014.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Edoardo Raposio, MD, PhD, FICS, Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43126 Parma, Italy. E-mail:

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.