Quick, name three materials other than silicone or saline that have used historically for breast augmentation! On what animal were recent predecessors of modern silicone implants first tested on? Think you know? Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the United States, and it isn’t surprising when you consider the level of satisfaction most women report after their surgery. However, very few know the history of augmentation and statistics that surround this popular procedure. Read on to learn a brief history of breast augmentation, as well as the reasons why women seek breast augmentation and other fun facts.
BREAST AUGMENTATION IN THE 19TH CENTURY
Long before modern silicone and saline implants were available, women were subjected to a number of questionable materials when seeking breast enhancement. At one time, surgeons used materials such as glass balls, carved ivory, wood chips, peanut oil, and even ox cartilage to fill out the breasts. The resulting complications are too disturbing to describe.
In the 1880s, an Austrian physician named Robert Gersuny began to offer paraffin injections in the breasts as an augmentation method. However, women suffered from complications such as having unnatural hard masses in the breasts to experiencing life-threatening conditions such as blood clots in the lungs and brain. Later, silicone was injected directly into the breasts without good results, although with significantly fewer complications than Gersuny’s methods and materials. Scarily, these methods of breast augmentation are still in use in some parts of Asia.
20TH CENTURY BREAST AUGMENTATION ADVANCES
Moving forward to the 1960s, an American surgeon named Thomas Cronin was carrying a bag of blood when he realized that it was similar in consistency to a human breast. Cronin had already developed silicone prosthetics and realized that he could put together the idea of a solid bag with silicone gel to form implants. Cronin and his colleague, Frank Gerow, developed the first true predecessor to modern breast implants. The first prototypes were implanted in a dog named Esmeralda.
After World Wars I and II, mass media such as movies and magazines began to place wider emphasis on appearances, and starlets such as Marilyn Monroe were often cited as the ideal for body shape and breast size. This created a push for proper surgical solutions for women who were unsatisfied with their breasts.
Technology advanced fairly rapidly after Cronin and Gerow’s developments, and now breast implants are safer than ever before with oversight by the Food and Drug Administration (the FDA). Although there are risks with any procedure, cosmetic or otherwise, breast implants have come so far in terms of both materials and surgical approach that breast augmentation is now often considered one of the safest of all surgeries performed in the United States.
WHAT ABOUT BREAST IMPLANTS USED TODAY?
In the United States, the FDA currently has approved two types of implants, both of which are encased in silicone shells. The choice of material inside the implants is either silicone or saline. Thirty-one percent of implants used in the United States are saline-filled, and these implants may come either pre-filled or they may be filled after they are placed. Saline implants are FDA-approved for women 18 years of age and older. The remaining 69 percent are filled with a stable, silicone gel. Silicone gel implants are available pre-filled, and are FDA-approved for women over the age of 22.
If you have been considering breast augmentation, a great first step is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mark Bishara at The Paragon Plastic Surgery & Med Spa. Call us today at (817) 473-2120 to schedule your consultation. We look forward to meeting you!