When hundreds of women make use of taxpayer funds for breast enlargement surgery, there should be many more who can benefit too, on medical grounds, suggest surgeons in Australia.
According to the doctors, expanding taxpayer-funded operations to flat-chested women will boost self-esteem.
Medicare claims for breast augmentation have grown by more than 50 per cent during the past five years.
Women who had lost their breasts due to diseases such as cancer also fell into the category, but were included in a raft of other items on the Medical Benefits Scheme.
The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons has asked the Federal Government to consider extending the tax-payer-funded benefits to flat-chested women, who suffer what is known in the industry as 'hypomastia'.
Society president Peter Callan said women might feel a "loss of self-esteem due to undeveloped breasts".
"There are a certain number of women with significant hypomastia who would benefit from breast augmentation from both a psychological and physical perspective," News.com.au quoted him as saying.
Breast implants for hypomastia were included under Medicare in the 1970s and 1980s, but the legislation was changed and the item number removed about 10 years ago.