A breast implant is an artificial device that is used in breast augmentation surgery to change the size, shape and feel of a woman’s breast. According to American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic procedure.
Breast implants are pockets of liquid that are placed inside a breast to increase its size or adjust its appearance. There are two main kinds, containing either saline (salt water) or silicone, a squishy gel.
1889 – Surgeon Robert Gersuny performed experiments for breast augmentation using paraffin injections. The result was disastrous. The practice fell out of favor – and for good reason. It caused formation of hard, painful lumps known as paraffinomas.
1895 – Austrian-German surgeon Vincenz Czerny, known as ‘the father of plastic surgery’, performs breast reconstruction on a woman at the University of Heidelberg. He effected the first human breast implant in a procedure where he used body fat he harvested from the abdominal region of the patient to reconstruct the asymmetry of the breast from which he had removed a tumor.
1915 to 1943 – During these period, physicians used a variety of other substances as breast implant fillers. They used ivory, glass balls, ox cartilage, polythene tape, a polythene sac with Ivalon, etc., as breast implants fillers. These methods resulted in serious rate of infection after the surgery.
1945 – Morton I. Breton performed flap-based breast augmentation by rotating the patient’s chest wall tissue into the breast to increase its size.
1950 to 1960 – Plastic surgeons used synthetic fillers as breast implants. The synthetic fillers include silicone injections which were received by about 50,000 women. The result was also disastrous as it caused serious inflammations.
1961 – American plastic surgeons Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow developed the first silicone breast prosthesis. The device was filled with silicone gel. Silicone breast implants are pre-filled implants that have a gummy-like feeling, often best replicating the feel of natural breasts.
1962 – The first silicone breast implant was performed on Thomas Jean Lindsey at Jefferson Davis hospital in Houston, Texas. Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerorw who had developed the silicone prosthesis in the previous year convinced Timmie who had originally gone to the hospital to remove a tattoo, to volunteer for the first breast implant using the model the developed. Timmie’s doctor implanted the silicone cutlets in her chest, increasing the size of the from a B to a C.
1964 – The French company, Laboratoires Arion developed and manufactured the saline breast implant, filled with saline solution, and then introduced for use as a medical device in 1964.
Saline implants feel less natural, and many women who have had a breast augmentation with saline implants say that they have a water balloon type of feel. They are however cheaper and safer compared to Silicone implants.
To know which breast type is right for your breast augmentation surgery, you can do all the online research possible and then talk to your doctor about it.