History of Breast Enlargement
Denver, Boulder and Aurora, CO
We might think of breast enlargement as a modern phenomenon, but it has a long history. Since ancient times artists have given praise to beautiful breasts. Babylonian, Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, and Greek writers all describe the qualities that make breasts beautiful, equating large breasts with fertility, health, and attractiveness. In The Bible, The Song of Solomon frequently describes ideal breasts as perky, full, and symmetrical. Islamic poetry frequently praises the graceful curves of women's breasts. In English literature Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Spencer all allude to an ideal of ample breasts.
With a universal or near-universal ideal of large breasts, it is no wonder that women would seek to improve the actual or apparent size of their breasts. Corsets and bustiers were designed to improve the appearance of breasts by slimming the figure and enhancing contrast while pushing breasts up to improve their appearance. With all this emphasis on breast appearance, it is inevitable that once modern medicine became a part of daily life, breast enlargement surgery would be attempted.
Early Attempts at Breast Enlargement Surgery
The first attempts at breast enlargement surgery were made in the 1890s. They involved the use of paraffin wax injections. Although these provided initially positive results and led to a mini boom in the procedure, the complication rate was high. Infections and lump formations were common, but did not stop the procedure. It was not until an alternative was developed that this procedure was given up.
In the 1920s and 30s the earliest experiments in fat transplantation were attempted. With good initial results and lower complications, this procedure took the place of paraffin wax injections, but it too suffered in terms of long-term results as the fat was absorbed, leaving a lumpy appearance and scar tissue. The procedure was abandoned in the 1940s and it was not until recently that advanced techniques have made fat transplantation for breast augmentation a reality.
The "Falsies" Era of Breast Enlargement
With all options for surgical breast enlargement seemingly exhausted, and Hollywood icons like Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, and Jayne Mansfield showing off their curves on screen and in magazines, women had no place to turn but to "falsies." Falsies, or pads to be placed in the bra to give the appearance of larger breasts, had been around since the Victorian era or earlier, but at this time they surged in popularity and became a multimillion dollar industry. But it was not to last, because falsies are by no means the same as true breast enlargement, and by the 1950s surgeons had found new materials for surgical breast enlargement.
Sponges for Breast Enlargement
In the 1950s, surgeons attempted to implant polyurethane and polyvinyl sponges into the breasts for enlargement. Again, initial results were good, but the results of this procedure were very short-lived, less than a year, and led ultimately to shrunken breasts and infections.
Silicone Injections for Breast Enlargement
As the shortcomings of polyurethane sponges became apparent, women turned to a newly invented material for breast enlargement. Silicone, initially invented as an engine lubricant, is an inert material that can be easily sterilized and injected. It became popular and remained so for many years with dancers and showgirls, although complications like discoloration and infection again limited its mainstream popularity. An underground industry of direct silicone injections persists to this day, but women should be aware that this procedure is dangerous and should be avoided.
The Invention of Breast Implants
Silicone-filled breast implants were invented in 1961 and have endured since then because of their great, long-lasting results and high safety record. Although silicone breast implants were temporarily withdrawn from the market in 1992, concerns about their safety were found to be largely the product of media hysteria and opportunistic behavior on the part of class-action lawyers. Scientific studies have shown that they are linked to neither cancer nor autoimmune diseases. As a result, silicone breast implants were re-approved for use in cosmetic breast enlargement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006.
At The Broadway Center for Plastic Surgery, Dr. David Broadway practices the most advanced types of breast augmentation, using FDA-approved breast implants and safe, effective fat transplantation to give our patients the best possible results. To learn more, schedule a breast enlargement consultation today.