50th Anniversary of Breast Implants

As reported in a recent article in Cosmetic Surgery News, it has now been over 50 years since the first successful silicone breast implantation procedure, which was performed on Timmie Jean Lindsay in 1962. Lindsay is still healthy and happy with her implants, which are now 50 years old.

Over those 50 years, the breast implantation procedure has gone from just one patient to over 1,600,000 procedures annually in the United States alone. It is the second most popular cosmetic procedure in the world, coming in just slightly behind liposuction. And it’s still growing.

First Woman to Receive Silicone Breast Implants in 1962 Still Proud and Healthy

Timmie Jean Lindsay is still “quite proud” of her silicone implants as an 80 year old woman, and says that she has “never once regretted” being the first woman to have silicone breast implants.

When Lindsay had her breast augmentation in 1962, the procedure was in its infancy. Other proposed (and failed) methods of breast augmentation had included paraffin injections, glass balls, ground rubber, ivory, ox cartilage, gutta-percha, and various polyethylene products. Flap techniques had been tried and silicone had been injected into the breast tissue but not placed within a protective sac.

In 1961, Dr. Thomas Cronin and Dr. Frank Gerow developed a thick silicone gel encapsulated in a teardrop-shaped rubber sac. Following successful testing, they asked Timmie Jean Lindsay if she would be willing to be the first recipient of these historical implants.

Lindsay had first come into their offices to have a tattoo removed near her chest, and it was the doctors who approached her with the idea. Hesitant at first, she said that she’d rather have her ears adjusted. Dr. Cronin and Dr. Gerow told her that they would perform both the ear surgery and the breast implantation for free, and she agreed.

Their courage and the success of that first procedure helped shape the future of breast surgeries, including breast augmentation, breast reconstruction, breast reductions and breast lifts. The long-term success of that procedure and its ever-increasing popularity have had a dramatic affect on world since 1962.