A Brief Overview on the History of Breast Augmentation

It was just about 50 years ago that modern day breast implants were introduced. Since then, the breast augmentation procedure has steadily evolved to what is now the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States.

Before Modern Implants

The process of enhancing one’s breasts has been around for centuries. Some of the earliest breast implants were created from materials like sponge.

The 1960s

The first silicone implant came from Texas in 1962 by doctors Frank Gerow and Thomas Cronin. Timmie Jean Lindsey (then, 30 years old) was the first human recipient of the new silicone implants and recently spoke at the 50th anniversary of silicone implants last year. Three years later, French surgeon, H.R. Arion, introduced the first form of saline implant in 1965. Arion’s saltwater-filled implants gained popularity because of their ability to be placed with smaller incisions than silicone implants required.

The 1970s-90s

Mass production of breast implants began during the 70s. Other alternatives attempted to make their way into the breast augmentation game, but these newer inventions – like inflatable implants – never quite caught on. Silicone and saline continued to thrive. The 1980s brought new design changes to silicone and saline implants. Both types received a new, softer external shell which are now both made of silicone. Silicone implants caused health concerns in the 80s and 90s due to leakage and in January 1992, the FDA banned silicone implants in the United States, which allowed for saline to gain serious popularity. It wasn’t until 2006 that silicone implants were allowed back in the States.

Current Day

Breast augmentation saw a huge popularity boom at the turn of the century. The number of procedures in the US shot from just over 100,000 in 1997 to over 316,000 in 2011. The technology and techniques used for breast augmentation have evolved dramatically since the procedure’s early beginnings. Silicone gel implants are back and more popular than ever with their new FDA approval earlier this year. Surgeries are minimally invasive and have been receiving great patient reviews.