A Brief History on the Beginning of Breast Implants

Fifty years ago, the modern breast implants that we use today were just bursting onto the scene. Since then, hundreds of thousands of women a year have made breast augmentation the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States. This is how breast implants evolved over the past fifty years to arrive where they are at now.


Breast augmentation is not a new concept. For centuries, people have been trying different things to increase the size, or change the appearance of, their breasts. Some of the earliest breast implants were created from materials like a sponge. We have come a long way since then.

The first silicone implant was introduced in 1962 by Texas doctors, Frank Gerow and Thomas Cronin. Thirty year-old, Timmie Jean Lindsey, was the first human recipient of the new silicone implants. Lindsey recently spoke at the 50th anniversary of silicone implants last year.

Three years later in 1965, a French surgeon, H.R. Arion, introduced the first form of saline implant. Arion’s saltwater-filled implants gained popularity because of their ability to be placed with smaller incisions than silicone implants required.


Breast implants started being mass produced in the 1970s. At this time, many other alternatives began trying to make their way into the breast augmentation game, but these inventions – like inflatable implants – never quite caught on.

The 1980s brought new design changes to silicone and saline implants. Both types received a new, softer external shell.

Health concerns became an issue with silicone implants during the late 80s and early 90s. In January 1992, the FDA banned silicone implants in the United States, which allowed for saline to gain serious popularity.


Breast augmentation saw a huge popularity boom at the turn of the century. The number of procedures in the US shot from just over 100,000 in 1997 to over 316,000 in 2011.

Everything about breast augmentation has evolved dramatically since its early beginnings. Silicone gel implants are back and more popular than ever with the new FDA approval of silicone gel implants. Surgeries are minimally invasive and have been receiving great patient reviews.

With various different options available to patients, women are more able than ever to achieve the exact look that they desire.

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