In 2003, plastic surgeons performed 280,401 breast-augmentation surgeries in the United States. This made breast augmentation the second most common elective surgery and the most common type of breast surgery for that year. Breast augmentation, or augmentation mammoplasty, is the insertion of breast implants into a woman's breasts to increase their size. These implants have been the center of controversy for almost 30 years.

In this article, HowStuffWorks looks at breast implants and the surgery that inserts them into a woman's breasts. We'll examine the history and controversy surrounding breast implants and the risks associated with them, describe the various methods used to implant them, and learn how men also use breast surgeries to alter their appearance.