Summary: Breast augmentation continues to be one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries worldwide. Women undergo breast augmentation to enhance their breast size as well as their self-confidence. Thanks to the innovations of science and technology, women have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of breast implants that vary in size, shape and material. When it comes to breast implants in the 21st century, there’s something for everyone.

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In the Beginning

Breast implants have come a long way from their more experimental beginnings. Few would guess that the first implants came about in 1890, when an Austrian doctor injected paraffin wax into women’s breasts in an effort to increase bust size. All was well until the wax eventually hardened, became lumpy, and caused rampant infections.

The First Fat Transfers

Noting the errors of the past, doctors of the 1920s opted for a different approach. They transplanted fatty tissue from women’s abdomens and buttocks into their breasts. Unfortunately, the fat was eventually re-absorbed by the body, leaving women with asymmetrical breasts and scars from the places on the body where the fat was harvested.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Not to be defeated, in the 1950s surgeons returned to the drawing board. The new plan was to use synthetic vinyl sponges as implants. This method, too, proved faulty, as the sponges shrank, hardened and caused infections. But silver screen sirens Marilyn Monroe and Lana Turner had inspired throngs of women to pursue curves of their own, and surgeons tried to meet the demand by using all manner of implants, including ivory balls, wool and even ox cartilage. Unsurprisingly, none of these early implants were effective.

The Birth of the Silicone Implant

During World War II, Japanese prostitutes began injecting silicone into their breasts, to appeal to American soldiers. Their method caught on, and in 1961 the Dow Corning Corporation teamed up with two cosmetic surgeons to make the world’s first silicone breast implant, a rubber sac filled with silicone gel. In 1962, Timmie Jean Lindsey was the first woman in the world to receive silicone implants. After decades of false starts, the cosmetics world had finally delivered a successful prototype. The design remained unchanged until 1982 when some slight modifications were made for better safety.

Saline Makes a Splash

Amidst some concerns regarding silicone implants in the early 1990s, surgeons turned to saline implants, which had first burst on the scene in 1960s France. In the ensuing years, both saline and silicone implants have been deemed safe and effective medical devices by the FDA. These seals of approval have convinced growing numbers of women to pursue breast augmentation surgery and helped to broaden the selection of implants.

A Whole New World

Breast implant options have improved and expanded greatly in recent years. These days, women who want enhanced curves can select from a stunning array of implants. They can choose from saline or silicone implants in a range of sizes, shapes and profiles.

Women undergo breast augmentations for a number of reasons. Breast implants can help you reclaim your youthful curves, rejuvenate your figure following pregnancy or weight loss, create better proportions or balance out asymmetrical breasts. Some choose to combine a breast augmentation with a lift in order to revive sagging breasts. Whatever the reason for having breast augmentation surgery, today’s implant options offer something for women everywhere.