A Quick History of Breast Augmentation: How Breast Implants Redefined Confidence

A Quick History of Breast Augmentation: How Breast Implants Redefined Confidence
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Since the early days of breast augmentation, implants have been changing patients’ lives for the better. The procedure has undoubtedly evolved over time, together with its impact on society has been undeniable. From improving patients’ self-confidence to becoming one of the top procedures in the United States, breast augmentation has come a long way.

The 1890s: The Earliest Attempt at Breast Augmentation

The first documented attempt at breast augmentation, in 1895, belongs to Austrian-German surgeon Vincenz Czerny at the University of Heidelberg. A lipoma (a harmless fatty lump) was transferred to a woman’s breast to fix asymmetry issues after removing a breast tumor.

The 1940s: DIY Breast Enlargement in Japan

Japanese women working in the sex industry began putting industrial silicone directly into their breasts to cater to the tastes of men in the U.S. military. The attempts started with goats’ milk and paraffin, which were deemed unsafe and led to several infections and complications.

Other attempts at breast augmentation during this time included using a mixture of olive oil and paraffin wax, as well as sponges and polyethylene. However, these methods as well were found to cause numerous health complications.

The 1960s: Introducing the First Silicone Breast Implants

The first silicone breast implants were developed in the early 1960s and quickly became popular due to their natural look and feel. In addition to enhancing patients’ aesthetics, these implants also helped improve their self-confidence.

Drs. Frank Gerow and Thomas Cronin invented the first silicone breast implants. In 1962, a woman from Texas named Timmie Jean Lindsey received the implants, making her the first woman ever to receive silicone breast implants.

The 1970s: Regulations and More Clinical Studies

Certain patients are afraid to undergo general anesthesia, which is perfectly reasonable. Traditional facelifts will require going under general anesthesia, but mini-facelifts won’t. Instead, you will only experience local numbing.

The 1980s: Breast Augmentation Regains Popularity

Breast implant technology improved in the 1980s with the development of cohesive silicone gel implants, which helped reduce the incidence of implant-associated illnesses.

However, the public perception of breast implants was threatened when patients complained that silicone implants cause autoimmune diseases. As a result, in 1982, the FDA placed breast implants in a higher Class III category because of their risks, with supporting evidence in the medical literature.

The 1990s: Safety of Implants Came into Question

The 1990s were a difficult time for breast augmentation, as implant safety was called into question. In 1991, for health issues linked to her ruptured implants, Mariann Hopkins, a woman from New Jersey, received $7.3 million from Dow Corning, the largest manufacturer of silicone implants at the time.

The FDA banned silicone implants in primary breast augmentation surgery in 1992 after much debate about their safety and a voluntary moratorium on the distribution of prosthetic devices. Saline implants, however, were not affected.

Starting in 1992, the FDA only allowed silicone implants for reconstruction purposes and correction of congenital deformities. Unfortunately, this made silicone implants unavailable to women seeking breast augmentation.

The 2000s: Breast Augmentation on the Rise Again

After undergoing further safety testing, silicone implants were reintroduced to the market in the early 2000s. As a result, the popularity of breast augmentation was on the rise again.

The FDA lifted its restrictions on silicone breast implants in 2006, allowing them to be used in women aged 22 and older for cosmetic purposes. After numerous clinical studies, the FDA concluded that silicone implants do not necessarily cause autoimmune diseases.

The 2010s: Booming Popularity and Innovations

By 2010, breast augmentation had become the most popular form of plastic surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), breast augmentation was still the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in 2019.

The 2010s have introduced new breast implant technologies, such as the Allergan Natrelle Inspira silicone gel implants. These implants are made with a textured surface which helps reduce the risk of capsular contracture.

Additionally, the IDEAL Implant’s structured breast implants have been developed to replace traditional saline and silicone implants. The IDEAL Implant combines the benefits of both saline and silicone implants, making it a more viable option for women seeking breast augmentation.

There are many new technologies and innovations in breast implant technology, making it a constantly evolving field. With each new development, breast augmentation becomes an increasingly safer and popular procedure.

The Bottomline: Breast Augmentation Today

As you can see, breast augmentation has come a long way since its modern introduction in the 1960s. While it has had its ups and downs, the procedure has ultimately been a boon to patients’ self-confidence and well-being. 

Breast augmentation has changed dramatically over time, and its influence on society is indisputable. Thanks to continual innovation in breast implant technology, women now have more choices than ever to enhance their aesthetics. So, what does the future hold for breast augmentation? Only time will tell.

Get Your Very Own Breast Augmentation at Aesthetica!

If you’re interested in learning more about breast augmentation, visit our expert team at Aesthetica Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center! We offer a wide range of breast enhancement procedures, including breast augmentation, breast lift, and breast reduction. Our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Phillip Chang, is dedicated to helping patients achieve their desired look. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation! Also, we invite you to check out our blog for more information on cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery trends!

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