The History of Breast Augmentation

woman-holding-breast-implantsWanting to change your physical appearance is nothing new; for thousands of years, humans have used a variety of tricks to change the way they look. In today’s era, improving your appearance through plastic surgery is becoming more and more common, with percentages rising each year.

For women, one of the most popular areas to enhance is the breasts, with over 300,000 breast augmentation procedures performed in 2014 alone. However, the popularity of this cosmetic procedure isn’t just a modern day fad; it turns out that breast augmentation has been around for quite a long time. Bustle recently explored the history of breast implants, and we’ve highlighted some of the most interesting periods!

We’ve Come A Long Way…

Before the dawn of the 20th Century, medicine was moving at a slower pace. Still, some women were so eager to increase their bust size that they went under the knife with complete uncertainty. Until the middle of the 20th Century, doctors used just about anything they could get their hands on to enlarge the female breasts—including vegetable oils, ground rubber, ox cartilage, goat’s milk, Teflon, peanut oil, Terylene wool, and sponges. Unfortunately, the success rate was frighteningly low and often resulted in terrible infection, disease, and sometimes death.

The Age of Bigger is Better

During the 1950’s, breast implant popularity skyrocketed as beauty icons like Marilyn Monroe sported attire that showed off a voluptuous figure. This was the dawn of the pointy-breast aesthetic, and it inspired all sorts of materials to appear on the market—including the popular Ivalon sponge. The problem with this sponge material is that after a few years of that perfect cone shape, they would collapse underneath the breast tissue, leaving the breast as hard as a rock. Yikes!

In the 1960’s, physicians thankfully figured out that foreign liquids inside the breast should not be free floating, but instead encased in some kind of “bag.” This was the birth of the first breast implant that resembles the modern devices. Timmie Jean Lindsey, the first patient to receive these revolutionary implants, had originally planned to get breast tattoos removed at a local hospital, but instead became a medical first going from a size B to a size C—and Lindsey still has her implants today at age 83.

Be sure to read the full article to learn more about the history of breast enlargement!

Modern Improvements for Safety & Success

In our 30 years of practice, we’ve seen great advancements in breast augmentation techniques and breast implant design. Today, breast implants come in a large variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, and their lower-than-ever complication rates make breast augmentation a safe and effective option for many women.

If you’re considering breast augmentation, the best way to learn more about which breast implant options and surgical techniques will work for you is to speak with a board certified plastic surgeon. Here at the Center for Plastic Surgery, your cosmetic consultation is always free, so contact us to get started!