History of Breast Augmentation

I have been interested in having a breast augmentation – what are our implant choices and how long have they been used?       Tori G    Coto de Caza, CA

Fashion may be fickle but women have been coveting bigger breasts for centuries.  More and more women opt for breast augmentation each year.   In 2017, there were 290,467 breast augmentation procedures in the USA, up 4 percent from 2015, and this number just continues to grow! The first silicone gel implant breast augmentation was performed in 1962. These implants consisted of a silicone rubber bag filled with a silicone gel. The consistency was that of normal breast tissue and complications were far fewer than with prior surgical attempts at breast enlargement using vinyl sponges, paraffin and a number of different substances that had been tried over the years. In the 1970’s, physicians attempted using saline implants, silicone rubber bags which has been filled with salt water, in an effort to decrease the incidence of capsular contractures, a thickening of the scar around may of the breasts first implanted with gel implants. The popularity of the saline filled implants remained low because these implants did not feel as natural as gel filled implants, and the early saline implants had a very high rupture rate. By the early 1980’s, breast augmentation was accepted as a main stream procedure and had become one of the most frequently performed aesthetic surgical procedures. Refinements in implant materials and surgical techniques lead to improving results throughout the 1980’s, and continued popularity of such implants. By the early 1990’s, more than two million women worldwide had such implants in place. A Connie Chung television show in 1991 raised doubt regarding safety of breast implants, bringing to light that many patients were now walking around with ruptured breast implants and questioning whether breast implant patients had a higher likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases such as arthritis or lupus. Much publicity ensued and the safety of implants was reviewed by the FDA as well as other regulatory health agencies worldwide.  Most issued rulings that the safety of silicone breast implants had to be studied further and such implants were removed from the market. And studied they were! Literally, hundreds of scientific studies were carried out, some retrospective, looking at the history of previously performed cases. Others were prospective, studying patients after new implants were inserted in carefully monitored situations. These prospective studies were set up by the major implant manufacturers in the United States, under the auspices of the FDA, and all data was presented to the FDA. I was chosen to be one of the investigators in these studies and was able to have access to silicone implants during the years that they were not available to non-investigators. After carefully studying all the data from these studies and other studies worldwide, the FDA concluded that silicone implants do not increase the incidence of any other diseases. In November of 2006, silicone gel implants were approved by the FDA for breast augmentation in the United States and this created a flurry of interest in breast augmentation with gel implants. Today we rarely use anything but a silicone implant to give our patients the most natural result possible. You may enjoy viewing:

If you have any specific questions about cosmetic procedures, your best bet would be to see a qualified plastic surgeon to review your options. Pease feel free to contact our office at 949-888-9700 to set up an appointment with Dr. Bunkis; you may also check out our web site at www.orangecountyplasticsurgery.com  to see further examples of similar patients.   You may also wish to come to our ALL ABOUT BREASTS SEMINAR on March 22nd – one lucky person will win a free pair of breast implants!


22 year old female, before and after subpectoral breast augmentation. (Actual patient of Dr. Bunkis)

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.