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A Brief History of Breast Implants

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the world, and the most popular in the United States. In 2010, 318,123 people chose to get breast implants. Due to their popularity, breast augmentation is considered one of the safest and satisfactory plastic surgery procedures available. But just like other plastic surgeries, breast implants have humble beginnings. Read on to learn more about the inception and development of breast implants.

The First Breast Augmentation

The breast augmentation was recorded in 1895 by Austrian surgeon Vincenz Czerny. Czerny was considered a pioneer in the realm of gynecological surgery—his career also included the first complete vaginal hysterectomy. Czerny’s breast augmentation was performed on a patient who experienced asymmetrical breasts, which is still a common reason that many women get breast implants today. In order to remedy the problem, Czerny took material from a benign tumor and attached it to the breast.

Early Breast Implant Developments

Around the same time as Czerny’s first breast augmentation, other surgeons were experimenting with methods of increasing breast volume. Robert Gersuny injected breasts with paraffin, leading to major infections and lump formations. Paraffin breast injections were discontinued by the 1920s. Fat transplants taken from other parts of the patient’s body and inserted into the breasts were also proven ineffective by the 1940s, because they were absorbed back into the body. The first “implants” were also introduced in the first half of the 20th century, and they were usually comprised of sponge, ivory, glass, and rubber.

Silicone Breast Implants

The concept of using silicone to enlarge breasts was introduced in the 1960s via injections. This proved problematic, causing lumps and infections. Silicone injections quickly went out of style with the introduction of silicone implants, also in the 1960s. Silicone implants have always been the most popular form of implants due to their more natural look and feel. They remained at the top of the breast implant market until 1982, when they were banned by the FDA because of health concerns—the downside of silicone implants is that they can be toxic upon leakage. Silicone implants were re-approved by the FDA in 2006, and now have a much tougher shell to reduce the risk of rupture.

Saline Breast Implants

Like silicone, saline breast implants were also developed in the 1960s. They were first introduced for medical use and then to the general plastic surgery market. Saline breast implants were extremely popular during the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, when they were virtually the only type of implant available due to the silicone ban. Saline implants are more likely to cause cosmetic problems like rippling, wrinkling, shifting, and an unnatural look. But in the event that they rupture and leak, they pose a far lesser risk for infection because they’re made from natural saline.

Breast Implants Today

The breast implants of today have come a long way from their tumor, injectable, and glass beginnings. Nowadays, breast implants are all about safety and choice. Both silicone and saline implants are widely available and considered safe. Moreover, potential breast implant patients can choose their implant location. To learn more about your breast implant options, contact our representatives. We’ll schedule you a private consultation with an experienced breast augmentation plastic surgeon in your area.



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