Encyclopedia of Body Adornment

By Margo Demello | Go to book overview

I

IMPLANTS

Implants are items that are surgically inserted into the body, sometimes for medical purposes but increasingly today, for aesthetic purposes. Medical implants include pacemakers and artificial joints, while the most common implant used for aesthetic purposes (and sometimes medical purposes as well) is the breast implant.

The oldest and most commonly used implant is the breast implant. Used since the end of the ninteenth century to augment the size of a woman’s breasts, the earliest implants were made with a woman’s own fat. Later substances included ivory, paraffin, rubber, polyester, and teflon. In the 1950s, silicone was injected directly into thousands of women’s breasts in order to increase their size, resulting in granulomas and hardening of the breasts.

Modern breast implants are made with a silicone shell filled with either silicone gel or saline liquid. Almost 300,000 breast implant surgeries were performed in 2005, and they are becoming more common among women of all ages and socioeconomic classes.

Today, cosmetic surgeons are using the technologies developed for breast implants to augment a number of other locations on the body on both men and women, including the buttocks, calves, pectoral muscles, and biceps.

In the body modification community, the term implant generally refers to a number of procedures, mostly performed by body modification practitioners rather than doctors, such as subdermal implants, transdermal implants, scrotal implants, and genital beading. These are still quite rare and are not accepted in mainstream society, and are often known as artistic implants.

A subdermal implant refers to the insertion of an object under the skin so that the shape of the implant is clearly visible through the skin itself. Most implants are made of teflon or silicon and are carved into decorative shapes such as stars or other simple designs. They are primarily used for decorative purposes. Body artist and piercer Steve Haworth is known to have popularized the use of such implants in the 1990s. The artist generally uses a scalpel to create an incision, then uses a spatula-like tool to open a pocket under the skin. The implant is then inserted into the pocket, and the wound is sutured together.

The horn implant, first performed by Steve Haworth, is a subdermal implant of (usually) two teflon bumps into the forehead, giving the appearance of a devil or goat or other animal. The first horn implants were inserted into Enigma in 1996. Subdermal implants can be stretched just like regular piercings, so, for example, a person can receive small horn implants, and once they have healed, have them removed and replaced with larger horns.

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Encyclopedia of Body Adornment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Entries vii
  • Guide to Related Topics xi
  • Preface xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • A 1
  • B 23
  • C 55
  • D 91
  • E 93
  • F 109
  • G 125
  • H 139
  • I 155
  • J 167
  • L 175
  • M 181
  • N 197
  • O 207
  • P 211
  • R 229
  • S 233
  • T 255
  • W 291
  • Y 295
  • Z 297
  • Resource Guide 301
  • Bibliography 305
  • Index 319
  • About the Author 327
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