South Texas Plastic Surgery Blog

The History of Breast Augmentation

Tagged with: Breast Augmentation

Posted on: October 17, 2018

A woman covering her breast with her handsBreast augmentation is a popular cosmetic surgical procedure designed to enlarge and improve the symmetry of the breasts. Although breast augmentation has become a well-known procedure in recent decades, this cosmetic surgery actually dates back to the late 19th Century.

Over the years, improvements to implants and surgical techniques have made breast augmentation safer than ever; doctors can also provide more reliable results.

Here, Dr. Brian Burns of Victoria, TX, presents the history of breast augmentation. Read on to learn how this surgery has evolved over time.

Why Breast Augmentation?

Women have been using breast implants to improve the appearance of their breasts for decades. Today, breast augmentation is performed using implants either filled with saline or silicone. The goals of breast augmentation surgery remain the same today as when the surgery was first conducted long ago, including:

  • Augmenting the size or volume of the breasts
  • Improving the shape or contours of the breasts
  • Enhancing the feel of the breasts

Early Breast Augmentation

One of the earliest known breast augmentation procedures was performed in 1895 by surgeon Vincenz Czerny. Using the patient's own adipose tissue, he repaired the asymmetry of a breast he had previously surgically treated for a tumor.

From the beginning of the 20th century, surgeons began using other substances as breast implant fillers, including ground rubber, ox cartilage, ivory, wool, and polyether foam sponge.

In the 1950s and the 1960s, plastic surgeons even tried injecting synthetic fillers, often silicone, into women’s breasts, causing complications.

Modern Implants in the 1960s

The first big shift in breast augmentation surgery came during the early 1960s. This was when the first implants that resemble today’s implants were developed and introduced to the market.

In 1961, the Dow Corning Corporation developed the first silicone breast implant with American doctors Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow.

The first breast augmentation using this implant was performed the following year.

In 1964, a French company developed a saline breast implant that was available on the market as a medical device later that year.

Implant Improvements in Recent Decades

Starting in the 1980s, improvements were made to breast implants. A specialized coating over the implant shell helped to decrease the incidence of leakage. Additionally, a thicker, more cohesive filler reduced implant leakage and provided a natural appearance.

Around this time, tapered breast implants shaped like a natural breast were introduced. These implants had a uniformly-textured surface to reduce implant rotation.

Studies in recent years show a low incidence-rates of capsular contracture (scar tissue that forms around the implant) or implant rupture compared to previous generations of breast implants thanks to these and other technological improvements.

Learn More about Breast Augmentation Today

Breast augmentation has been enhancing women’s physiques and self-confidence for decades. Fortunately for you, patients today have more choices in implants than ever before, and a much lower incidence of enduring health or cosmetic complications.

Learn more during a consultation with Dr. Burn. You can set-up your appointment by calling us at (361) 576-1975 or filling out our online form.


South Texas Plastic Surgery Victoria Office 601 E San Antonio
Ste 302W

Victoria, TX 77901
(361) 576-1975

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