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What is a Boob Job?

By Kate Monteith
Updated May 21, 2024
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A boob job is a slang expression for breast enlargement by plastic surgery. Some people refer to women’s breasts as boobs. When a woman has had breast implants inserted, some people might say she has had a boob job. Breast enlargement surgery is especially common in Western societies, where the size of a woman’s breasts is often a consideration when judging her attractiveness.

Breast enlargement is the most popular elective surgery in the United States, with more than 300,000 boob jobs performed every year. Flexible bags of silicone gel or saline are slipped under the skin and pectoral muscle of the breast area, resulting in a fuller, rounder shape. About two-thirds of women get a boob job for cosmetic reasons, and a third for health reasons.

The first recorded breast augmentation was in 1895 by Austrian surgeon Vincenz Czerny. He used a woman’s own fatty tissue to reconstruct one of her breasts after cancer surgery. Other surgeons tried a variety of unusual-sounding and dangerous breast implants, including balls made of ivory, rubber or wool. By the 1950s, a surgical method was devised to rotate the muscle wall to reconstruct the breast. In the 1960s, thousands of women sought silicone breast injections, causing permanent disfigurement for many of them.

In the 21st century, the boob job has been refined to be a safe and predictable surgery. Breast implants are available today in several sizes, depending on the desires of the patient. The outer shells are made of a sturdy, rubbery silicone, and they are filled with either silicone gel or saline. The implants are inserted through a small incision that can be made under the breast, along the armpit, or in the abdomen to reduce visible scarring. Saline implants are not filled until after they are in place, allowing for a smaller incision and a smaller scar.

The threat of breast cancer prompts some at-risk women to have their breasts surgically removed, and to receive a subsequent boob job. Additionally, many women who have had breast cancer will have reconstructive breast surgery after a mastectomy. Up to a quarter of all breast surgeries are for a second surgery due to medical complications.

Some women have complained of maladies that they insist could only be caused by their boob job. Both silicone and saline are benign substances with no known side effects, and the medical community cannot find a connection. It is extremely rare for breast implants to rupture, but there have been a few cases where a breach develops and silicone gel leaches into the body cavity; this, too should cause no harmful effects. However, some surgeons recommend that implants be replaced after ten to fifteen years, just as a precaution.

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Discussion Comments

By CheeryOne — On Aug 19, 2010

cupcake15- I have seen some of the pictures of celebrity boob jobs gone wrong. I also have a friend who went to a doctor who advertised a buy 1 get 1 free breast augmentation. One year later she has 1 left and that doctor is no longer practicing.

Some women fail to follow proper aftercare instructions; this also causes a poor outcome. The most important instruction was to wear the elastic band as long as the doctor instructed. It allows them to fully settle for a more natural look. When you see woman with implants that look like large balloons, she chose to go too large, got a cheap above-the-muscle procedure or did not follow healing instructions.

By RockinGranny — On Aug 19, 2010

I’ve had my breast implants for 3 years now and it was one of the best investments my husband and I made. I grew up with 34A breasts and my smaller size never bothered me. That is until I lost pretty much all elasticity after breastfeeding my children.

I was lucky enough to have close ties with a skilled surgeon. My under the muscle, saline implants only cost me $3800; his normal fee was $6000. After the healing process, they looked great and almost real.

By cupcake15 — On Aug 18, 2010

Snoopy123- I think that whatever a women needs to feel good about herself is best. Motherhood while it is a joy, does do a number on your breasts. Breast implants are not even that expensive.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons the average boob job cost about $6500, while a celebrity boob job can cost about $100,000.

The reason is most celebrities don't want to risk a bad boob job. Not only would it affect their health, but it would also look unseemly. Many celebrities have already experienced this mishap.

By Snoopy123 — On Jun 02, 2010

When women have children, especially when you breastfeed, the shape and firmness of your breast tissue disappears. Sadly, the term ‘flapjacks’ was coined to describe a woman’s breasts after childbirth. And when a woman gets breast cancer and has a mastectomy, her breast(s) are removed. In either case, the breast tissue will not grow back. I think breast augmentations in these cases should be considered reconstructive and covered by insurance.

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