Tuesday, 22 October 2013 15:06

50 years of implants

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The silicone breast implant has faced some adversity since its invention 50 years ago, but it has managed to stay on the market all this time.

By constantly evolving and changing, even the improvements to the safety of breast augmentation procedures, the quality of the results nowadays is incredible.

The first woman to have silicone implants was a young mother from Texas, named Timmie Jean Lindsey. She had actually gone into hospital to have a tattoo removed from her breasts. When she was asked by her doctors if she would agree to try a new procedure, Lindsey agreed, as long as they pinned her ears pinned back too! The operation was a complete success, carried out by two surgeons called Frank Gerow and Thomas Cronin.

A year later, Thomas Cronin spoke about their research at an international plastic surgeon conference in Washington and received an overwhelmingly positive response. The plastic surgery community was very enthusiastic about the silicone implants, this being a few years after the launches of Barbie and Playboy. It was an era when women coveted the curves of Marilyn Monroe and Mae West. Women were interested in having bigger breasts and the silicone breast implant arrived at the perfect time.

Since then, the silicone breast implant has seen many improvements. For example, fifty years ago there were only four sizes on offer and now there are 450!

Although, the history of the silicone gel implant is not without its controversy. In 1992 the implant was taken off the market, due to concerns about safety. However, surgeons and scientists carried out extensive research on the product and silicone gel implants were reintroduced in 2006, safer than ever before.

The technology behind silicone gel implants has continued to advance over the decades. Today women can choose implants that are smoother and shaped more like a real breast, giving beautiful results. The glamour model aesthetic is out of fashion and women don't want to have 'obvious' implants that draw unflattering comparisons to watermelons and Katie Price. As a result, the new implants shapes are designed to create a subtle change and very natural-looking breasts.

In the future, silicone breast implants will provide even better patient outcomes, with innovative research planned that will look at developing new implant shapes and materials used. It's clear that in another 50 years, silicone implants will still be here, still evolving and improving the results of breast augmentation.

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