25 November 2009

Breast implants

I was asked a ridiculous question the other day. Can vampires get breast implants?

Photo source

To be honest, I have absolutely no idea. I imagine that the answer to the question is yes, but let's examine the circumstances closer. If our vampire pal was sculpted from Anne Rice's imagination, the feat of enhancing one's breasts would be impossible due to the unnatural ability to heal from all natural wounds. In Blood and Gold, Mael looses his head (literally), but regains it by supernatural graft. "The gush of blood was appalling, and I could swear that I heard the ripping of preternatural flesh...[the helper] laid the head down in the gushing blood, pushing it ever closer to the gaping neck, until suddenly the head seemed to move of its own volition, the ligaments once more like so many little snakes as the made to meet with those of the trunk, and the whole body gave another lurch and the head was firmly fixed as it should have been" (101). Rice attributes this dramatic healing process to all changes of vampiric body after death, including those that are purely cosmetic. Who can forget the scene in the film version of Interview with a Vampire in which young Claudia discovers that her hair will quickly regrow to its former length, despite lopping it off in the preceding scene? In Rice's vampiric world, breast implants may simply ooze from the animated corpse as it heals itself to its former figure.

But, we don't exist within Anne Rice's imagination, and there are other sources of vampire fiction. In Varney the Vampire, magical properties of moonbeams heal the undead creature, and without his lunar salve the vampire will remain injured. According to the author, the European vampire is a "being which can be killed, but is restored to life again by the rays of a full moon falling on the body...and that the hideous repast of blood has to be taken very frequently, and that if the vampire gets it not he wastes away, presenting the appearance of one in the last stage of consumption, and visibly, so to speak, dying" (71).

To my knowledge, I've never expounded on the notion of vampiric, rapid healing or need to feed. Why should I bother to explain such things? But, in this discussion, I find it necessary to review. The general belief is that vampires heal more quickly than humans. Some believe in the magical restoration of the corpse to the initially undead form, while others believe in a more natural, but still supernaturally quick, restorative process.

In stories in which vampires exhibit a rather natural healing process, foreign objects enter the vampiric body and are then expelled. Humans have a similar healing process when it comes to foreign objects, albeit it happens much slower and on a smaller scale than the expulsion in vampire movies. In humans, a foreign object (think of a splinter) in the flesh may be removed by the shedding of dead skin, the rejection of the foreign object by the body, or by the body's response to an issuant infection. However, when a human receives breast implants, the body reacts by producing a particular variety of cells that encapsulate the implant in order to protect the body from the foreign object. The "persistent presence of a biomedical implant, splinter, particulates, or other foreign bodies inhibits full healing" within humans. "Rather than the resorption and reconstruction that occurs in wound healing, the foreign body reaction is characterized by the formation of foreign body giant cells, encapsulation of the foreign object, and chronic inflammation" (UWEB).

If that is what happens with humans, what happens to vampires who are the recipients of breast implants? Logic may rule out predicted paths. I might assume that the vampiric body reacts in a similar way that the human body would, only faster; however, the human body's reaction requires the construction of a new type of cell. Would the vampiric body produce "foreign body giant cells" in a location where they did not previously exist? Truthfully, I have no idea.

Maybe the vampiric body would reject the breast implant, leading to a rather gruesome expulsion of silicone from the chest. But, I would say, that is the risk a vampire would have to take in order to enhance her cup size. So, if a doctor wants to peel back the pallor flesh and flush out the chest with a pair of silicone beanbags, I don't see why the medic should fear. It isn't as if a vampire is likely to sue for malpractice, anyway.


My twitter followers may already know that I am not well-endowed in certain regions, yet I have not felt the need to dabble in cosmetic surgery. It's just not that important to me. Instead of reading this dribble about vampires and breast implants, visit the blog site of gals who are actively raising awareness of breast cancer. It is important to them.


  1. Wow, I had no idea that humans heal around foreign objects w' different cells. I was with the theory that vamps would heal around the implants as a human would, but if they were older, they would be above such things, as every feminine body type has been the height of beauty at one time or another. Of course, a young one may get implants, but hell, due to rapid healing, she could remove them just as easy.

    Fun question!

  2. Did Narcissus overcome his vanity? Was Aphrodite able to part from her vain and lustful ways. Nope, and in the same way, vanity follows the vampire throughout his existence. However, I do like your idea of the evolving feminine figure through time and society. I suppose we all have our moments of glory. As for the medicine...

    Breast implants (and other medical implants) are especially designed to reduce inflammation and limit the production of foreign body giant cells. Still, the human body's reaction cannot be avoided. Repeated surgeries form massive scar tissue. Would the same happen for a vampire? What do you think?

    Source: http://www.uweb.engr.washington.edu/research/tutorials/woundhealing.html

  3. I was just wondering the same thing today. Actually, more precisely, I was wondering what would happen to a person who was transformed while they had implants. In terms of hip or joint replacements, breast implants, etc. All implants must eventually be replaced because of wear and tear. Breast implants have a shelf life of about 10 years (some make it much long, obviously), hip and knee joints have about the same life span. What happens to our newly turned Vamp 25 years down the road when his/her implants are broken. Depending on the mythology a vampire always heals back to his/her original state. It's not that they grow "new" of anything, they just revert. What if the original state they are reverting to was substandard? When the implants break will there just be gaping holes or rattling bits of prosthetic metals?

    Or do the implants get pushed out during the initial turning process. Are some vamps guaranteed flat chests and creaking knees for eternity?

    Various mythologies give vampires super hearing after they are turned. What about a person with a cochlear implant? Will they get super hearing, partial hearing, no hearing?

    People have become more and more dependent on these types of medical procedures, but writers really haven't taken the leap to incorporate these bits into their stories.

  4. Breast implants (and other medical implants) are especially designed to reduce inflammation and limit the production of foreign body giant cells. Still, the human body's reaction cannot be avoided.

  5. Right, but I'm quite sure we were talking about vampires.