From Big to Small – The Evolution of Breast Implants

Wanting to enhance the appearance of your chest is nothing new. For decades, women have sought to improve the appearance of their breasts. Breast implants have been around for more than 50 years, and today, they are safer and more natural-looking than ever.

Whether women have breast augmentation as a stand-alone procedure or with a mommy makeover, breast implants can give you the look you’ve dreamed of.

Early Years Of Breast Implants

The initial attempts at breast implants happened in the late 19th century. The first breast augmentation occurred in 1895 to correct asymmetry, where the surgeon moved a lipoma from the patient’s back to the breast.

Another surgeon tried to put paraffin into a women’s breasts, and the results were disastrous, ranging from hard masses in the breasts to ulcers and even blindness.

The first part of the 20th century saw surgeons attempt many dangerous attempts to augment women’s breasts with odd materials, such as glass balls, oils, beeswax, rubber, ox cartilage, Teflon, sponges, and liquid silicone. All of these procedures were ineffective and dangerous.

Silicone Breast Implants Introduced

The first silicone breast implants were used in the 1960s. The surgeons who did the procedure were named Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow. They came up with the concept of a silicone breast implant when they squeezed a plastic blood bag and noticed it felt similar to breast tissue.

A 30-year-old woman named Timmie Lindsey was the first person to have breast implants in 1962. In 2012, the woman told the media that she still had the implants and was pleased to have been part of medical history.

Silicone breast implants had advantages over earlier methods. It felt more natural and softer, and if there were complications, the implant could be taken out with minimal problems. But there were still problems with silicone breast implants, and the FDA paused their use in 1992 to suggest more studies on safety.

Saline Breast Implants Introduced

Saline breast implants also were released in the 1960s. A French company made these implants with a silicone outer shell that was filled with saline. They didn’t feel as natural as silicone implants, but the procedure was less invasive and was safer if there was a rupture.

The significant advantage of saline implants is that they don’t need to be filled in advance. They can be filled with the solution after they are placed in the breasts. So, surgeons can place them with a smaller incision, and there is less scarring. Saline implants surged in popularity during the 1990s when the FDA paused the use of silicone implants.

Modern Breast Implants Introduced In 2000s

In the last 20 years, breast implants have come a long way. Silicone breast implants were re-approved by FDA in 2006. Breast implant manufacturers have experimented with outer shell thickness as well as the density of the silicone filler.

Textured breast implants were introduced in the last 15 years, and more shapes and profiles also were offered. Today, about 240 styles and 8,300 types of silicone breast implants are made in the US.

One of the most exciting developments in the last several years is introducing ‘gummy bear’ breast implants. These products have a thicker silicone gel that keeps its shape in any position. This is the strongest silicone available on the market, but the gummy bear implants feel soft and natural.

Some patients prefer these implants because they keep their shape and are not as prone to rippling and wrinkling. Also, they are less likely to leak silicone into the body if there’s a rupture. And, they can have a breast lift during this procedure if they choose.

Breast Implants Today

The feel, longevity, and safety of breast implants will continue to improve as more research is conducted. But it’s not only the implants that are getting better; there also have been advances in the technique used to do breast augmentation surgery.

Patients and surgeons now have more options that allow each procedure to be custom-made for the patient’s anatomy and goals. For example, there are more choices in breast implant placement and the type of incision.

Imaging software helps the patients imagine how their results will look before they decide on the procedure. Also, a new tool called a Keller Funnel makes it safer and easier to place breast implants.

There also have been changes in breast implant trends. Breast augmentation used to be about ‘bigger is better.’ But many women today talk to their surgeons about a more subtle, natural-looking look.

Also, a greater focus on staying healthy and active has women choosing smaller implants so they can exercise. Some women even decide to have a breast reductionbreast reconstruction, or have their breast implants removed.

We can expect that the technology and science behind breast implants and breast augmentation will continue to change in the coming years. And patients will benefit from these advances.

Request A Breast Augmentation Consultation Today

Interested in a Las Vegas breast augmentation? Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Rachel Mason today! She will review the options with you about breast augmentation, your goals and help determine if you’re an ideal candidate for this procedure.


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