The History of Breast Augmentation
by health blogger Mandy Underwood
Every year there are more and more people going under the knife to enhance their appearance. The American Society for Plastic Surgeons released their findings for plastic procedures done in 2013 in the USA. The results showed a 3% increase with breast surgery still being on top as the most common performed procedure. Breast surgery doesn’t only include having implants but also, breast reduction because of back pain and even mastectomy due to cancer or the possibility of cancerogenus cells. Plastic surgery has been evolving to leave the patient with minimal scarring, a natural look and long term results.
Before the Implant
In an attempt to correct the blunders of nature paraffin injections were given to patients in 1904, but these caused a lot of health issues. The body would reject this combination of olive oil and petroleum jelly forming paraffinomas, causing inflammation and tissue necrosis and more serious side effect were blindness and pulmonary embolism. Doctors moved to silicone injections (still used in some parts of Asia) but these also caused many health issues like painful granulomas, the silicone wouldn’t stay in the desired place, hepatitis, embolism and even death. Then in 1958 polyvinyl alcohol sponge prostheses were placed inside of patients but their shape would be distorted by the breast tissue.
The first silicone implants were developed by doctors Frank Gerow and Thomas Cronin and the first breast augmentation was performed in 1962 in Houston, Texas. Timmie Jean Lindsey unsuspectingly went to her doctors for a tattoo removal and they suggested her to think about having this revolutionary surgery. For a long time the FDA and silicone implant manufacturers have been at war. The FDA refused to approve implants that were not 100% safe for patients, but even then companies kept selling them and surgeons kept implanting them. The concern was that they would rupture and the silicone gel would leak into the body and cause health issues. Nowadays the gel is more cohesive; meaning that even if they rupture the gel would stay in place until being removed.
The first saline implant was created by Dr. Arion in 1965. These were filled with saline so even if they ruptured the body would absorb the fluid and they were safer than ones filled with silicone.
Soy oil filled implants were devised in the early 1990s by Dr. Leroy Young and his colleagues; they wanted to give women an implant that wouldn’t hinder mammogram readings. Even if the implant ruptures the oil would be absorbed by the body. In 1999 these were recalled because the oil would cause swelling and inflammation but when they were removed from the body the symptoms would subside.
Surgeons have perfected their techniques so the patients have as less scarring as possible. The most prominent scar is left when surgeons perform the anchor and lollipop incision breast lift. Both incisions leave a scar that runs vertically from the nipple connecting to the scar that is underneath the breast; the only difference being that the lollipop incision leaves a scar around the areolas as well. But these incisions are used if the surgeon needs to remove excess skin.
The periareolar incision technique is when the surgeon needs to sever the areola from the breast to insert the implant though this carries a risk to milk production, but the scar is almost invisible and tents to fade over time. The inframammary breast augmentation technique is the most common procedure; the incision is made under the breast where it meets with the chest. This procedure is used to avoid problems with milk production and leaves minimal to no scarring. Then there is the transaxillary breast augmentation technique (which is also one option for future mothers) where the incision is made in the pit of the arm. The transumbilical incision is made in the belly button so there is no visible scarring. The surgeon needs to make a “tunnel” leading from the navel to the breast pocket so that the implant can be placed.