Early Breast Enhancements
Breasts have always been a significant part of fashion, and every age has tried to make the most of them. At various times, small or large breasts have been in vogue, their shape either concealed or enhanced by garments. However, until the late nineteenth century, no one could increase the actual size of the breasts themselves- despite the best efforts of women and doctors.
Initial attempts to increase breast size were mild enough. Women were recommended to rub unguents and oils into the chests several times a day to promote growth. These rubs could be special ‘growth serums’ or else just plain coconut or olive oil. The results were not a spectacular success.
Then, 120 years ago, the first successful surgical breast enhancement was carried out. A Bohemian/German surgeon called Vincenz Czerny. Czerny was called upon to rebuild the breast of a 41-year-old singer who had lost part of her breast to a tumor. Czerny was lucky as the woman provided the implant material from her own body. She had a benign, fatty tumor on the right half of her lower back. Czerny was able to remove this and use it to rebuild the breast.
The success of Czerny’s surgery started a spate of attempted breast enhancements. The problem was, not everyone had handy spare tissue that surgeons could use as fillers. So, experiments began with many weird and wonderful alternatives. Not all were surgical. In the 1890s attempts were made to inject breasts with paraffin, a fad that quickly died out when doctors realized the paraffin leaked into the rest of the body.
In France in the early 1900s, women desperate to increase their breast size but not so keen on an operation or dubious injection began to experiment with large suction cups, which they fixed to the breasts to firm them up. The theory was, the cups ‘showered ‘ the breasts with cold water, causing the fibers of the mammary glands to contract, firming and lifting the breasts.
The suction cup was no great success either. So surgeons continued valiantly searching for a satisfactory artificial filler they could implant during surgery that would not be rejected by the body. Between the turn of the twentieth century and the 1960s, scientists experimented with some weird and wonderful implants such as glass and ivory balls, sponges and even ox cartilage. Finally, in 1961, a solution was found when the first successful silicon breast implant took place.
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