Evolution of Technology

Breast Implants

Watch below as I discuss the different types of breast implants.

The first “breast augmentation” surgery was done in 1895 when a lipoma (benign fat tumor) was successfully removed from a patients torso and transplanted to the breast following a mastectomy procedure for breast cancer. What followed for the next half-century was the experimentation of different materials used to augment the breast. Paraffin, liquid silicone, sponges, oils, and many other substances were used and met with disastrous complications including disease, infection, and death.

As the mid 20th century ushered in an era of glamour and vanity, prominent beauty icons such as Marilyn Monroe sported large breasts that ignited a renewed interest in breast enhancement. Again, faulty materials such as the Ivalon sponge, initially showed promise, but then collapsed and caused issues with pain, and rock-hard deformities.

In the 1960s, physicians and scientists finally realized the dangers of free floating substances and developed the first breast implants with a filling and an outer shell. In 1962, the first modern day breast implants were developed. These implants had a silicone envelope and filling.

Following these first implants, multiple generations of implants followed, all of which aimed to develop a shape that produced a natural appearance and remained in a stable position with a filling that wouldn’t leak over time.

In 1965, saline filled implants were also developed. These implants were inserted through smaller incisions and filled with saline solution inside the breast. In 1992, breast implants were labeled Class III medical devices and the FDA and American Society of Testing Methodology imposed more stringent quality control measures for shell thickness and filling gel cohesiveness.

Following these measures, and after a 14 year moratorium on cosmetic use of breast implants, the most modern generations of breast implants emerged. Today, the manufacturers of breast implants are held to stringent quality and safety measures that undergo constant updating. These new generations offer a variety of shapes, shells, filling, and surface textures in order to meet patient needs and preferences.

Evolution of Procedure

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation and augmentation mammoplasty are plastic surgery terms for the breast-implant and the fat-graft mammoplasty approaches used to increase the size, change the shape, and alter the texture of the breasts of a woman.

Breast implants are medical prosthetics placed under the breast tissue or muscle to alter the size, shape, or contour of a patient’s breast in order to correct a defect, such as those created during a mastectomy (breast cancer surgery). Breast implants are also used cosmetically to enlarge the appearance of the breast during breast augmentation surgery.

In breast augmentation surgery, surgeons apply a variety of techniques to insert the breast implant. Additionally, the implants are placed in a variety of different “pocket” locations, that differ in indication and result.

Methods of breast implant insertion techniques include:

  1. Transaxillary
  2. Inframammary
  3. Periareolar
  4. Transumbilical
  5. Transabdominal

“Pocket” locations for implant placement:

  1. Subglandular
  2. Submuscular
  3. Dual Plane
  4. Subfascial

Evolution of Diagnosis

Micromastia (Small Breasts)

Micromastia (or hypomastia, breast hypoplasia) is a medical term that describes (subjectively) small breasts. This definition should be distinguished from “amastia” which literally describes that absence of breast tissue. Because the diagnosis of micromastia is not based on objective criteria, the definition is only applied when the patient perceives a small breast deformity.

“Relative micromastia” has been used to describe the smaller breast when on breast is considerably smaller than the other side. Many women seek breast augmentation as a treatment for their unhappy perception of their small breasts. In fact, breast augmentation is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery year after year.