Breast augmentation is consistently one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed, year in and year out. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 286,000 women had the procedure in 2012. Today it’s commonplace—a generally straightforward surgery with a fairly quick recovery—but have you ever wondered about the history of breast enhancement? Here’s a brief history of breast augmentation.
1960s through 1980s
Two plastic surgeons from Texas developed the first silicone breast implants in the early 1960s. In 1962, the first breast augmentation was performed on Timmie Jean Lindsey, a mother of six children. 50 years later, she realized that her decision was the start of a new medical era and was grateful to have been a pioneer—especially after one of her granddaughters had a double mastectomy and opted for reconstructive surgery with breast implants.
Two different types of implants were developed in the early years—one filled with saline, the other with silicone gel. The latter was the most popular with women because they felt more like natural breast tissue.
By 1976 all breast implants were classed as medical devices to bring them under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the late 1980s, concerns about the safety of silicone gel implants ushered in a long period of legal challenge and medical review. Several high-profile lawsuits charged that silicone implants caused long-term illnesses.
1990s through 2000s
Although no link between silicone gel implants and illness was ever proven, the accusations set the stage for the FDA to restrict silicone implants for reconstruction and revision (replacement) surgeries only in 1992, while manufacturers did follow-up studies to obtain approval for augmentation. Saline implants became the only option for breast augmentation in the U.S. until 2006, when silicone gel implants were once again approved for patients aged 22 and over. This hard-won decision meant that women could once again choose which type of implant they wanted for breast augmentation.
2010s and Beyond
Women now have more choice than ever when considering breast augmentation. Two implants from different manufacturers were recently approved by the FDA within a year of one another—one in March 2012 and one in February 2013. Each implant is composed of highly cohesive silicone gel, a new generation of silicone gel. And both are offered in an anatomical, teardrop shape, differing from the traditional round implants.
Are you thinking about enhancing your figure with breast augmentation? With all the choices you have today, it’s a good idea to partner with a board certified plastic surgeon with years of experience in breast enhancement. Dr. Brothers would be happy to discuss all the options you have during a consultation.