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Breast Implants

Content Contributor

Evolution of 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.

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