Abreast of its time 丰胸术五十周年

英語學習點: 和美容手術有關的詞匯 Vocabulary: cosmetic surgery

It is 50 years since the first breast enlargement using silicone implants. Today it rates as the second most popular form of cosmetic surgery worldwide, undergone by 1.5 million women in 2010. It is just behind liposuction in popularity.

It was spring 1962 when Timmie Jean Lindsey lay down on the operating table at a hospital in Texas and went from a B to a C cup, in an operation that boosted her self-confidence.

"I don't think I got the full results of them until I went out in public and men on the street would whistle at me," says Lindsey, now aged 80.

The idea of inserting material in the breasts to make them look more bountiful wasn't new. Paraffin, tried in the 1890s, was quickly dropped because it leaked to other parts of the body, according to Teresa Riordan, author of Inventing Beauty: A History of the Innovations that Have Made Us Beautiful.

In the 1920s and 1930s doctors tried moving fat from other parts of the body to the breasts. And in the 1950s sponges, wood and even glass balls were tried.

The first guinea pig for the silicone implant was a dog that had them removed after chewing its stitches.

But the implants would prove popular in the decade in which Playboy magazine and Barbie were launched. Film stars played a big role too. "The busty look of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell really emphasised this curvy silhouette," says Riordan.

But the history of implants didn't run smoothly. In the 1990s, the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) banned silicone implants as it investigated possible links to an immune response disease. The industry made big payouts, but studies found no basis for the fears, and they returned.

Timmie Jean Lindsey she remains delighted with the results, but puzzled by the unforgiving effects of gravity on her bosom. "You would think they would stay real perky, but no - they are just like a regular breasts, they begin to sag over the years."