Like many things, the boob job has had a bit of a sketchy history with more than one wacky twist. Thankfully, manufacturers are pretty solid these days on what does and doesn’t work in breast implants. And what works are saline and silicone. And what doesn’t work are these things.
In the early 1900s, surgeons got a little too creative with a solution for the I’d-like-bigger-boobs request. They tried plumping up breasts by inserting ivory or glasses balls … because that felt great, walking around with boobs full of marbles. Could you hear the balls clanking together in there?!
Another 20th century failure was the bright idea to inject paraffin, which just happens to be flammable. This waxy product used to make candles didn’t fare well in boobs, turning hard and lumpy and melting in high heat. From marbles to melting cleavage, totally an improvement.
Fast forward to the 1950s, when surgeons tried sponge implants. The sponges seemed to do the trick for a while, then the sponges shrank, dried up and turned into hard lumps. The good news is that the sponges took a hike in the early 1960s when silicone got into the game, finally.
Soybean Oil-Filled Implants
One of the latest runs at a breast implant alternative didn’t end up well either. In the early 1990s, a plastic surgeon developed breast implants filled with soybean oil to improve mammography. Things went well for him at first and about 5,000 women tried the implant. Then women began reporting swelling and inflammation and MRIs showed that the shells were rupturing and the implants were absorbing water. And then they were recalled.
If your boobs aren’t clanking or melting, feel free to say a thank you to saline and silicone.