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A few years ago, breast implants became the biggest thing in plastic surgery. They were expensive and had quite a stigma, but over time, the general public grew to accept them as a woman’s choice that’s none of our damn business. Let her do what she wants. No judgement. If you can afford them, you go, girl.

Now, it looks like women are starting to swing in the opposite direction. Surgeons across North America have noted a steady increase in the number of women having their implants permanently removed. Implants need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, and a lot of women are just having them taken out instead. In the past year, about 4,000 Canadian women have had breast ‘explant’ surgery. In the United States, about 40,000 women have their implants removed a year. So why the shift?

Women are ex-ing the implants for a number of reasons including: shifting body image trends, health concerns and more natural alternatives. Like with fashion, technology or anything else, body image goes through phases and trends. Ten years ago, a woman’s ‘ideal body’ (cue eye-roll) included large breasts. Now, with our culture’s emphasis on clean living and healthy eating, the ‘ideal body’ (another eye-roll) is trending toward a more athletic build, including a smaller chest.

‘I was finding that my implants were getting in the way of my golf swing,’ Cheri Edwards, who had her implants removed eight months ago, told CTV, ‘Laying on my chest in yoga, I was feeling I had to prop myself up … I feel totally healthier. I feel lighter on top. I feel lighter in weight … I feel smaller is actually beautiful and sexy and that’s really why I did it.’ It should be noted that whatever body you have is the ‘ideal body’ for you. There will be no body-shaming here.

There has also always been a concern that breast implants could leak or cause a negative reaction. Although the technology has become much safer since it was first introduced, putting any foreign material in your body is always a risk. Certain types of implants have even been related to rare cancers.

Recent advancements in ‘fat grafting’ have also provided women with an alternative to the traditional implant if they are looking for a small enhancement, rather than a huge augmentation. It is also possible for doctors to perform a ‘breast lift’ rather than adding any material to the area at all.

Despite the rising trend in removals, breast implants remain one of the top plastic surgeries performed in Canada with doctors doing about 20,000 a year.

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