History of Breast Augmentation By Vishnu Rumalla on January 10, 2019

A breast implant in a plastic surgeon's handsBreast augmentation continues to be the most popular plastic surgery procedure. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there were 300,378 breast augmentations performed in the United States in 2017. Thanks to our advanced and fully customized approach to breast augmentation and enhancement surgery, we have helped countless patients in the greater Fort Worth, TX area achieve their cosmetic goals.

Of course, breast implants didn’t just show up overnight. Breast augmentation surgery has a long and at times strange history. Dr. Vishnu Rumalla and the Tarrant Plastic Surgery team would like to go over the evolution of breast implants and how the surgery came to be what it is today.

The Late 1800s: The First Breast Augmentation Surgery

The first breast augmentation surgery was performed in Germany in 1895 by Dr. Vincenz Czerny. The procedure could be technically considered a breast reconstruction surgery, and it was very ahead of its time.

An opera singer had a tumor removed from her left breast and was concerned about her appearance. Dr. Czerny removed an apple-sized fatty tumor from the opera singer’s lower back and placed it into the breast.

Early 20th Century: Disastrous Implant Experiments

During the first half of the 20th century, many other surgeons and doctors attempted to enhance the size and shape of the breasts through various means. Many times these attempts at augmentation were ill-advised and outright dangerous, causing terrible complications.

Some early breast implants where purportedly made from the following materials:

  • Glass balls
  • Ivory
  • Ground rubber
  • Ox cartilage
  • Wool
  • Sponges
  • Polyethylene

Early-to-Mid 20th Century: Dangerous Augmentation Injections

There are also reports of Japanese prostitutes in 1945 trying to augment their breasts through injections. Some of the material injected into the breasts included:

  • Paraffin
  • Goat’s milk
  • Industrial silicone

On the note of silicone, there are reports of plastic surgeons in the 1950s and 1960s also injecting silicone into women’s breasts. These procedures would often result in silicone granuloma and hardening of the breasts, both sorts of problems necessitating mastectomy as treatment.

1945-1950: Flap-Based Breast Augmentation Surgery

Building off the innovation of Dr. Czerny, there were two notable breast augmentation procedures that used a patient’s own tissue to enhance the size and shape of their breasts. In 1945 and 1950, Dr. Morton I. Berson and Dr. Jacques Maliniac, respectively, rotated the chest wall of their patients to increase their breast size.

1961-1962: The First Silicone Breast Implant

Breast implants as we know them today would not appear until around 1961. In that year, American plastic surgeons Dr. Thomas Cronin and Dr. Frank Gerow developed and invented the first silicone breast implant. The first breast augmentation surgery with silicone implants was performed in 1962.

1964: The First Saline Breast Implant

Breast augmentation surgery would take another step forward not too long after the introduction of the silicone implant. The French company Laboratoires Arion developed a saline breast implant in 1964, which was a silicone shell filled with saline solution.

1976: FDA Regulation Begins

Beginning in 1976, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began to regulate breast implants, helping ensure that these medical devices were safe and properly regulated.

Leaping ahead in time a bit, health concerns resulted in a United States moratorium on silicone breast implants from 1992 to 2006.

Contact Our Plastic Surgery Center

For more information about breast augmentation and whether or not it’s a good option for you and your needs, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon. The team at Tarrant Plastic Surgery is here to help. You can reach our Fort Worth office at (817) 334-0030, our Southlake office at (817) 741-6801, and our Keller office at (817) 741-6800.

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Dr. Vishnu Rumalla

Tarrant Plastic Surgery

Dr. Vishnu Rumalla is a board-certified plastic surgeon. He is affiliated with several professional organizations, including:

  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • The American Board of Surgery

Contact our practice online or call us at (817) 334-0030 to schedule an appointment.

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