Breast augmentation also known as “augmentation mammaplasty” or “boob job” is a cosmetic procedure used to insert breast implants, typically silicone or saline underneath a woman’s chest muscles or underneath the breast tissue to increase breast size or enhance breast shape (Mayo Clinic, 2018). The goal of a breast augmentation is to enhance a woman’s natural figure to create a symmetrical and beautiful breast profile.


  • A History of Breast Augmentation
  • Reasons for Breast Augmentation
  • Cost
  • Breast Augmentation Surgical Procedure
  • Risks of Breast Augmentation

A History of Breast Augmentation

The history of breast augmentations can be traced back to the late 1800’s in Germany and Austria where Dr. Vincent Czerny did the first breast augmentation by implanting fat from a woman’s hip into her breast cavity after removing a benign tumor (Thorpe, 2015). In the 19thcentury a doctor by the name Robert Gersuny, injected a foreign substance known as paraffin wax a petroleum Vaseline based compound and olive oil to enhance a woman’s breast (Pin, 2016). Even in the mid 1900’s substances such as liquid silicone with cobra venom, avalon sponge and polyethylene tape were used to make breast implants. The modern breast implants that are used for breast augmentations in America today can be traced back to the early 1960’s. Dr. Thomas Cronin and Dr. Frank Gerow invented the first silicone breast prosthetic and performed the first implant procedure using their invention two years later. In 1965, Dr. G. Arion of Arion Laboratories developed the first saline breast implant and three years later in 1968, the Heyer Schulte Corporation became the first American manufacturer of the saline implant (Thorpe, 2015).

Reasons for Breast Augmentations

The breast augmentation procedure is largely pursued by women for various cosmetic reasons such as to enhance breast fullness or projection, increase self-image or self-esteem and to restore their breast profile after weight loss or pregnancy. A breast augmentation procedure can be done for medical reasons such as the replacement of a woman’s natural breast due to medical trauma or removal due to breast cancer, this procedure is known as a mastectomy. Breast augmentations can also be sought out by women because of a psychological or a mental aspect which can leave women with an overwhelming obsession to make cosmetic changes to their bodies.


In the United States the average cost of a breast augmentation can range between $3,000 – $4,000 but can vary depending upon what surgeon is chosen and what state they are located in. Breast augmentations are not usually covered by most health insurance companies because it is considered a cosmetic procedure, although companies will cover a breast augmentation for women who must undergo mastectomies due to breast cancer (American Society of Plastic Surgeons).

Breast Augmentation Surgical Procedure

The breast augmentation surgical procedure consists of the following five steps:
1. Anesthesia
2. Incision
3. Insertion of the breast implant
4. Closing the incision
5. Healing time/results

In the process of a breast augmentation a doctor will administer medications for sedation and an incision is made one of three ways, a periareolar incision which is conducted by making an incision under the areola, an inflammatory incision which is conducted by making an incision under the breast and lastly a transaxillary incision in the armpit. These incisions can be made for the placement or insertion of the breast implant underneath the chest muscle or underneath the breast tissue given the patients case. Closing of the incision can be done by the surgeon using surgical tape, adhesive or sutures. Lastly, the final step consists of the healing time and results. After surgery a woman’s breast will be covered with gauze dressing and she will wear a support bra to help minimize swelling and to provide added support as she heals. After about 6 weeks of healing time a woman will have a final visit with her doctor to examine and evaluate the change in her appearance (American Society of Plastic Surgeons).

Risks of Breast Augmentations

Having a breast augmentation procedure done can always be a risky process and can come with a list of complications such as: breast pain, implant rupture, changes in breast sensation, inflammation, displacement, necrosis (a condition that is caused by infection, leaving dead skin or tissue around the breast), hematomas (which is blood is collected near the surgical site that produces swelling, bruising and pain) and a list of other additional complications (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). It is always important to consult with a certified plastic surgeon if an individual in considering having a breast augmentation to ensure that it is safe and will provide effective results depending on the individuals case.


Additional Reading Sources:

  1. Dear Mona, What Percentage of Women Have Breast Implants
  1. Breast Augmentation Guide
  2. How Breast Implants Change Your Life. 


American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). Breast Augmentation: Augmentation Mammaplasty. Retrieved from

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Brisbane Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery. (2017). What Are the Different Implant Types, What Do They Mean, and What is Best for Me? Retrieved from

Ennismd. (n.d.). Transaxillary Breast Augmentation. Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2018). Breast Augmentation. Retrieved from

Pin, P. (2016). The History of Breast Augmentation. Retrieved from

Thorpe, JR. (2015). The History of Breast Implants & Enlargement, From Cobra Venom to Silicone Gel. Retrieved from

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.). Risk of Breast Implants. Retrieved from

Nia Cook is a senior at Old Dominion University majoring in Health Services Administration with a minor in Women’s Studies. She is a person who works hard to make a difference in society as well as being a role model for young girls. She also strives to be successful and obtain growth personally and professionally in all her future endeavors.