History of Breast Implants

Breast Implant Model
Before & After Photo Gallery

Breast augmentation is one of the most frequent plastic surgery procedures Dr. Sorokin performs. Today, patients have many safe, effective options when it comes to breast implants. New Jersey women now have more choices than ever. Learn about the history of these implants that have become the most carefully studies medical devices we know today.

Are you ready to find out more about breast augmentation in New Jersey? Request a consultation or call (856) 797-0202 and let Dr. Sorokin show you why he has earned the trust of so many satisfied breast enlargement patients.

The Beginnings

Breast augmentation as we know it today developed from simple beginnings. Here is a brief overview:

  • Paraffin wax. In the 1890s, doctors attempted placing paraffin wax in the breasts to create an enlarged appearance. This procedure left hard, lumpy areas which often became infected, and therefore most doctors abandoned the technique by the early 1900s.
  • Fat injections. Between 1920 and 1940, surgeons attempted fat injections to increase bust size. Fat was removed from the abdomen and placed in the breast. Unfortunately much of the fat was absorbed and the results were unpredictable. This technique also was abandoned due to poor results. In recent years, use of a pre-operative expansion device for a few weeks before fat injection has provided noticeable, lasting results for patients who desire a modest increase in breast size.
  • Direct silicone injections. In the mid-1950s, injecting silicone directly into the breasts was a widely used method for breast enlargement. This technique had disastrous results which included chronic inflammation, foreign body reactions, tumor like lumps, and silicone migration which could cause organ damage. Mainstream medicine rapidly abandoned this technique but even now you can find media stories about underground "surgeons" still performing direct silicone injections.
  • Polyvinyl implant sponges. Briefly in the 1950s, sponges were used to increase breast size. The sponges often shrank and became hard. Removal of the implants was necessary due to a potential link with cancer.

Silicone Implants

Silicone breast implants were first introduced in 1961. These first implants had thick outer shells and contained firm gel. Since then, there have been several generations of this implant type.

In the late 1970s, the second generation of silicone implants had thinner shells and used less firm gel to address concerns about the implants feeling too firm and looking unnatural. Unfortunately, these implants were more susceptible to ruptures and leaks.

In the mid-1980s, the third generation of silicone implants was released that had a slightly thicker, but still soft shell. The new silicone gel implant was more cohesive and therefore is less likely to leak into the body than the old liquid filled silicone gel implants.

In 1992, saline filled implants became the only option for most patients in the U.S. as the FDA banned the use of silicone breast implants due to concerns about patient safety. Women were concerned that diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis could be caused by the silicone. Over 14 years of study resulted in a well-known 1999 Institute of Medicine report and the 2005 FDA advisory panel decision which ultimately declared silicone implants to be safe and effective devices. Still, silicone implant technology advanced.

In 2006, the FDA issued approvals to both Mentor and Allergan Corporations that allowed the general sale and use of cohesive silicone gel breast implants for women age 22 and older and breast reconstruction patients of any age. These fourth-generation implants including Allergan Natrelle® and Mentor MemoryGel® are still in use today. They have more durable outer shells and a thicker silicone filling.

In 2012, the FDA approved another option, the Sientra® form-stable implants, often called gummy bear implants. These implants have a soft, natural feel and keep their shape even when cut or torn, eliminating the risk of leaks. The Allergan Natrelle® 410 form-stable silicone implant followed in early 2013.

Breast enlargement patients now have access to breast implants that have been extensively studied and clearly demonstrated to be safe for breast augmentation.

Your Choice of Breast Implants

This is an exciting time to consider breast augmentation. Women have a choice between saline and silicone implants, each with its own unique advantages. While silicone has become the implant of choice, Dr. Sorokin will continue to offer both saline and silicone options.

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