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50th Anniversary of Silicone Breast Implants

Cronin–Gerow Implant, prosthesis model 1963

The history of breast augmentation started decades before silicone gel breast implants were first used.  Silicone had been popular for quite some time—it was like a miracle substance and was thought that it wouldn’t break down.  In the post-war era, Japanese prostitutes were having industrial-grade silicone injected directly into the breasts.  Reports suggest that barrels of this industrial-grade product were being stolen from the shipping docks in Japan.  Subsequently, women were having a number of serious issues with the use of industrial-grade silicone, which differs greatly from the medical-grade silicone that is used today.

During the 1950’s, surgeons were experimenting with placing other materials into the breasts to augment the size of the breasts.  In 1958, Johns Hopkins did a study to look at the reasons why women wanted something placed inside the breast to augment the size and improve the shape.  The alternative to this was to wear a padded bra.  The studied showed that women would rather have the breast augmented from a device placed inside than be caught with a stuffed bra or “falsies”.

In 1962, Timmie Jean Lindsey became the first woman in the world to have a breast augmentation with silicone implants for breast enhancement in Houston, Texas by plastic surgeons Dr. Frank Gerow and Dr. Thomas Cronin.  The year 2012 marks the 50-year anniversary since the first breast augmentation with silicone gel implants.  This procedure has given women confidence, made then feel more noticeable—and improved self-esteem.  According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery—breast augmentation is still the most popular cosmetic procedure in the US with approximately 300,000 procedures performed in 2011.

For more about this topic, see this recent radio broadcast on BBC World News.  If you are interested in finding out more about breast augmentation in Austin, call my plastic surgery office at (512) 288-8200 or contact us to learn more!

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