The first silicone gel breast implant, as we know them, was developed in the 1962 by doctors Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow, who allegedly got the idea after noticing that plastic bags of blood felt like breasts. This were different from liquid silicone – these new implants contained silicone gel inside a bag, which would prevent the issues caused by liquid silicone injections. The pair tested the implants on a dog, as unbelievable as that may be. Though, it may be less surprising considering they got the idea from blood bags to begin with.
Saline implants were invented shorty afterward by a French medical device company in 1964 which were similar to the silicone implants, but contained saline rather than silicone in the bag. In 1992, when the FDA banned silicone injections, they also banned silicone gel implants due to the possible health risks and seeing horrible consequences of injections. During this 15 year moratorium on silicone gel implants, saline stepped up to the plate, becoming the most common implant material by a huge margin (95% of implants in the 90s were saline).
Silicone was eventually brought back into the fold in 2006, following years of FDA studies. The fifth generation of silicone breast implants that is used today are designed to feel more like fat- silicone gel is thick, and classified as a semi-solid. Today, almost all implants are done using silicone gel and saline.
It’s crazy the things we do to make ourselves look better, more attractive, and sexier. Breast enhancement has a surprisingly long, colourful, and troubled history, with many casualties and misshapen breasts along the way. Today, breast implants are the most common cosmetic procedure period, and the sacrifices of doctors and patients in the past have resulted in safe, effective implants today. The pursuit of beauty never ends.