The Evolution of Silicone Breast Implants

The Evolution of Silicone Breast Implants

Technically, the very first breast augmentation took place in 1895, when a German doctor took fat from a female patient’s hip and implanted it in her breast, which needed reconstruction after the removal of a tumour. If you’ve been considering breast implant surgery, read on: we think you’ll find the following history – and evolution, particularly in terms of safety and success – of this popular procedure as fascinating as we do!

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From Paraffin to Cobra Venom (Yikes!)

In the very early years of breast augmentation, between the 1890s and 1940s, a variety of strange things were injected into breasts to try and make them bigger, including paraffin wax, sponges, glazier’s putty and even cobra venom. Needless to say, these substances did not do their intended job well, and were very unsafe.

Silicone Makes its Debut

The first time silicone showed up on the breast augmentation stage was likely in the mid-1940s, when Japanese women may have injected liquid silicone into their breasts (an extremely unsafe practice by today’s standards). Fifteen or so years later, Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow used the substance to develop implants that are closer to what we know today:  silicone as a cohesive mass inside a kind of “bag”.

Saline Shows Up

In the mid-1960s a French company created similar “bags” filled with saline solution instead of silicone, allowing surgeons and patients to decide whether to fill the bags before breast implant surgery or after they had been put in. Saline breast implants experienced a real popularity spike in 1992, when the FDA issued a moratorium on all silicone-filled breast implants, worried about their possible health risks.

The Safety of Silicone

Silicone has, over the years, raised some concern when it comes to the health and wellbeing of breast augmentation patients. In 2006, after years of study and experiments, the FDA allowed silicone gel-filled implants back onto the market. Today, highly cohesive silicone implants are FDA-approved and available in Canada. Also known as “gummy bear implants,” they are safe, come in a range of cohesivity (from soft to firm) and have a beautifully natural look and feel.

You Can Still Choose Saline

Saline breast implants are also still available to patients. Filled with a salt-water solution through a valve during the surgery, the size of the implant depends on the size of the shell and the amount of saline added. The board-certified surgeons at 8 West Cosmetic Surgery will help you decide what type of breast implant is best for you.

Ready to learn more about breast implants surgery? Book your free pre-consultation today and have all of your questions answered!