Would you get breast implants in 1895? The answer is most likely no. Believe it or not, that was the year of the very first breast implant surgery. The procedure has come a long way since then. In fact, a lot of people go back to work after a few days of having breast implant surgery. It’s so normal in today’s world that we don’t think twice about what it used to be like. In this week’s blog, we’ll take a look at breast implant history.
We briefly touched on the fact that the very first breast augmentation was in 1895. Interestingly, the surgeon who performed the augmentation was a German named Vincenz Czerny. At the time, he was actually removing a tumor from the left breast of a 41-year-old woman, who was worried about the asymmetry of her chest. Because breast implants had never been done before, the surgeon had to get creative. The woman had a fatty tumor removed from another location, and Czerny decided to place that as an implant. Needless to say, the implant didn’t take but it opened up the possibility that they could in the future with the right materials.
Next in the long line of breast implant history are descriptions of people injecting paraffin wax in the 1900s. However, this was another failed attempt as people started experiencing complications. Because of this, paraffin wax injections were discontinued in the 1920s. With time, larger breasts became more popular and the desire for implants grew. By the 1940s Japanese prostitutes were injecting their breasts with industrial silicone liquid to be more desirable to Americans. Also, some other popular materials for breast augmentations were sponges, glass beads, ground rubber and much much more. It wasn’t until the 1960s that a good option came along for those looking to get breast implants.
The Age of Silicone
Finally, in 1961 the first silicone implant was made by two Houston surgeons, Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow. By the next year, they had their first patient in a groundbreaking surgery. Timmie Jean Lindsey went from a B cup to a C cup in just two hours. Originally, she wasn’t even interested in getting the procedure done. As a matter of fact, she made a deal with the surgeons to get breast implants if they also tucked her ears back. After all was said and done, Timmie Jean was fairly pleased with the results. She thought they looked great and felt real. But, she wasn’t prepared for all the attention her new breasts would bring her.
In a few years, inflatable saline implants were born and were bouncy, unlike silicone. The materials continued to get better as time went on, but in 1992 the FDA banned silicone implants due to health concerns. Since that time, the ban has been repealed and breast augmentations remain the most popular cosmetic surgery. Breast implant history is interesting because we have come so far since 1895.