cosmetic breast implants

Does Catholic moral theology have anything to say about cosmetic breast implants?

If simply for vain reasons then I think it is an issue.

The question goes to intent - what reason does one have for the procedure?

OK. I’ll propose a few.

1.) To increase her position on the unwritten, rarely-mentioned female “attractiveness” ladder.

2.) To attract a materially accomplished husband that she knows is her God-given soulmate, but he just hasn’t noticed yet.

3.) In an attempt to keep her wondering-eyed husband from leaving her for a more “noticeable” woman he’d rather take to the countryclub.

Let’s start with these three.

All three of these “reasons” stink. If the guy is a God-given soulmate, he WILL notice her and WON’T care about her breasts.

If the husband’s eyes are wandering, a couple of ounces of silicone won’t fix the problem.

The person considering implants for these reasons needs to get REAL with herself and stop trying to put a mechanical fix on something that is NOT mechanical.

Yours truly,
Carpenter’s dream (i.e., flat-as-a-board), happily married, & mom who nursed her children,

OK. What are some good reasons?

Do we have to cover real reasons by proper language a little?

How about to “build her confidence” and “increase her self esteem”?

What are some morally acceptable intents?

Bigger breasts build self esteem? —KCT

Not something I would do. I know people who’ve done it to make themselves more attractive, and I’ve also known men who’ve had various hair treatments for the same reason. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, one way or the other.

For the more moral among us, I assume just about everyone would find it morally acceptable in the case of a woman who had a full or partial mastectomy, yes?

JPII had an address to the Italian college of plastic surgeons and was cautiously optimistic that there was a role for purely asthetic procedures. I think it would be like gambling with excess money. If you can afford to throw it away then you could do this although there are better things to do with your money.

Reconstruction following masectomy or to fix a birth defect would, of course, be a morally acceptable reason.

Basically the woman is falling for secular societies view. She is allowing herself to be objectified, which diminishes her dignity. A woman should try to keep herself fit, however, augmentation to keep her husband from straying does not say a lot about her husband and their relationship.

Render your heart and not your garments!

In my humble opinion, if bigger breasts were the only thing that would keep my husband faithful…

he wouldn’t be worth keeping.

the Church’s position on cosmetic surgery, or any surgery is that is permissible if there is a legitimate need, and a person of reasonable prudent judgement can assess that need. any of the 3 reasons listed are not legitimate, not prudent and will backfire. the solution here is a new man not new breasts. the problem in the hypothetical marriage described here is much deeper than the physical attractiveness in either party. the guy is a jerk and needs cosmetic surgery on his attitude.

I was thinking the same thing!!! I could see it for severe deformities or for after a mastectomy but other than that it seems a vanity issue. Bigger breasts won’t give true self esteem, that only comes from liking who you are internally. Personally, not to sound vain or anything, but I really hate being judged on my looks rather than on my brains or my heart. I am not big chested, far from it in fact but as a teen I did alot of modeling. It really upset me when people, men in general, treated me different because of my looks. I played ice hockey and nobody could believe that a tall slender pretty girl could play worth a darn. Or when I was interviewed for an electronic repair technician position…they actually asked me if I knew really basic stuff…or if I could lift a 35 lb toolbox!!! I see the same thing happening with my daughter now and it is the same as it was 30 yrs ago… how sad!

There are two situations where it would be fine to have breast surgery.

  1. Your breasts are too big and heavy. They cause you backaches and other medical problems.

  2. You had to have surgery because of cancer. In this case, you would have the right to replace what was taken away.

I think that the Church does not allow self-mutilation. I can’t imagine why any woman would want to have surgery like this. Who would want some artificial thing floating around in her body? What would happen if you wanted to breast feed?

Any man who says you need this should be dumped pronto!!!

This reminds me of the people who are constantly having face lifts. I saw some women like that on Oprah. Most of them looked terrible, and I can’t imagine why they would want to do this to themselves.

How is this surgery different from body piercings (ears, etc.)? What about tattoos? What about hair coloring? Wearing makeup? Should we view liposuction the same way also?

Where do we draw the line and say all these actions that physically alter the body are bad and all these actions that physically alter a body are okay?

These seem to be varying shades of gray.

Not to open up a huge can of worms but if we allow circumcision, then shouldn’t we allow for breast implants? They’re both cosmetic surgeries intended to achieve a certain look.

Interesting topic.

I agree that there seems to a double standard because we don’t balk at anyone coloring hair or whatever which is obviously done only to improve one’s looks.

I personally wouldn’t care or judge anyone who felt the need to get cosmetic surgery - to each his/her own. My gripe was that the OP felt that her husband wouldn’t remain faithful unless she had bigger breasts. THAT is a terrible reason IMO.

I also think that our society is way too obsessed with women’s breasts. It bugs me. Breast feeding is considered gross by many - but huge breasts used to advertise chicken wings & beer is perfectly ok. How warped is that? (stepping down from my soapbox :wink: )

Frankly, I’m not all that crazy about hair color because it’s expensive and time-consuming. When you get to be elderly, and you have dyed hair, you look ridiculously fake.

Cosmetics (as hair color), used with prudence, supply what could be there in a better case – as does cosmetic surgery. However, cosmetic surgery, piercings, and tattoos require an act of physical assault, that is, an act of violence, with knives and needles. The risk/benefit ratio must be weighed in light of a purely aesthetic choice.

In the case of breast augmentation as described by the OP, the reasons, rather than the surgery itself, are the main problem.

Perhaps the Theology of the Body may help.


Christopher West

I agree with you in regard to the OP’s situation.

What about in general? Is the act of a woman getting breast implants because she likes how they will look morally wrong? Or is this a personal aesthetic decision and morally indifferent?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit