This month marks the 50th anniversary of the first silicone gel breast implant surgery, performed in March 1961 by Houston plastic surgeon Frank Gerow. The patient, Timmie Jean Lindsey, originally went to the surgeon to have a tattoo of roses removed from her cleavage. Gerow mentioned the possibility of breast augmentation. Lindsey had not considered the possibility of reshaping her breasts, but like many mothers, she quickly embraced the idea because it would allow her breasts to get firmer and perkier, as they had been before she had children. In a 2008 interview, Lindsey says she has had few problems with her breast implants. Of course, after nearly 50 years, the results were not as good as they were shortly after the surgery. She has experienced some minor capsular contracture—her breast implants are hard to the touch, but because of her natural breast tissue, they generally look and feel fine. In addition, the breast implants have drooped with age. Prior to the invention of silicone breast implants, women used direct injections of silicone gel or polyurethane sponges, but these resulted in high rates of complications, and have either stopped being used or been outright banned. Silicone gel breast implants, although temporarily off the market for 14 years, have, overall, a very good safety record, which is why they remain on the market, and are placed in nearly 300,000 women every year. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of breast implants, please contact plastic surgeon Dr. David A. Bottger in Philadelphia.