Summary: Imagine a world where you had to choose from cobra venom, paraffin or ox cartilage for your breast implants. Welcome to the weird and wild history of breast implant surgery!
Today, women enjoy beautiful results from their breast implants thanks to incredible advancements in science and technology. Modern breast augmentation offers a wide variety of options, whether you want silicone gel or saline, a teardrop or round look or a little or a lot of CCs to increase your bra cup size.
That wasn’t always the case. Let’s take a look back at how breast implants were first introduced, and where we are today.
The First Implants
Remarkably, the first documented breast implant surgery was done in 1895 by Doctor Vincent Cznery of the University of Heidelberg in Germany. The first breast augmentation was used not for cosmetic purposes, but as part of a removal of a benign tumor by taking fat particles from the hip and molding fat onto the breasts.
This procedure was followed up by the introduction of the first foreign substance injected into the body by Austrian surgeon Dr. Robert Gueserny, who used paraffin—with pretty terrifying results. The use of paraffin caused all sorts of ailments from forming ulcers to causing blindness.
The Experimental Years
By the 1900s, doctors were testing a variety of materials like ox cartilage, rubber, ivory balls and a number of other unspeakable items injected into the body. Not surprisingly, these innovations never caught on and had some devastating effects post-surgery.
After World War II, Japanese prostitutes went so far as to inject liquid silicon, which was mixed with substances such as cobra venom and olive oil, in an effort to please American soldiers. This procedure also caused very serious effects post-surgery with such toxic materials floating inside the body.
By 1950, breast implants were inspired by the look of the day, when women liked a firmer, “pointed” silhouette. This introduced the idea of using spongy materials such as polyvinyl and polyethylene. While these materials didn’t have life-threatening effects, the results after a number of years left woman with smaller and even saggier breasts after the implants collapsed inside the body.
The Wonder Years
In the 60s, breast implants took a turn for the better with the introduction of silicone and saline filled implants. The first implant model was used inside a dog named Esmeralda. The surgery was a success, with the exception that Esmeralda chewed through her stiches where the implant was placed. This test led to the first silicone breast implants used in a woman in Texas, who is now 83 and still happy with her implants.
Today, breast implants are made with either silicone, saline or form-stable silicone gel (“gummy bear” implants). Breast implants come in every possible size to suit every possible body type, and choosing the perfect look for you can be achieved in a number of ways ranging from rice sizers to 3D imaging. In the last 3 years, nearly 1 million women opted for breast augmentation surgery with amazing results, thanks to the pioneers before them and the many innovators that gave us a much safer and healthier way to boost the bust.