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.