Are These the World's Oldest Breast Implants?

MakenzieR on 15 Jun 2012 at 11:30am

If you've ever believed the myth that breast implants must be replaced every 10 years, take a look at these photos. 

This 81-year-old RealSelf community member has had the same silicone gel breast implants for 55 years. She got them in Okinawa, Japan in 1957 -- 5 years before the first implants were placed in the United States. 

oldest breast implants

first breast implants

She says in 55 years she's never experienced any issues with her implants. This lady busted another myth, too -- she breast-fed three kids just a few years after her augmentation. 

At the time she paid $300 -- according to RealSelf reviewers the average cost of implants in the US today is $6,000.

She adds: "For being 81 and the implants being 60 years old, I think they look pretty good." (So do we!)

Read more in Q&As with board-certified plastic surgeons: 


Photo credit: RealSelf.com/Community member Great2BMe
Special thanks to great2bme & mom for letting us share these photos

Comments (33)

Sort by

@Great2BMe, I'm so sorry to hear of your mom passing. We LOVE her story and her willingness to share with all of us. As far as I'm concerned she takes the gauntlet with her. Our warmest thoughts are with you and your siblings.

Reply

Great2BMe, I am sorry to hear of your mom's passing in April, 2013. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Post from Great2BMe: "Sadly my mom passed away in April. I miss her so much. Her boobs sure looked great even at the end when she only weighed 56 lbs. She did not do well with her back surgery and I know is in a better place. Thanks to all who shared in our story. So someone else out there needs to take the gauntlet for oldest implants!"

Reply
Moreover, a doctor will not explain all the risks and benefits of surgery and has not the patience to answer all questions is a doctor to be avoided.
Do not want to operate a man who has no patience. In addition, the physician must explain that silicone implants are not permanent and would have cared.
Reply
this is a very interesting thread. i will speak to a few of the older docs and get their take on this.
Reply

That would be fantastic, Dr. Pozner! I look forward to hearing what you find out.

Reply
Better than Wikipedia is a book called Cleavage: Technology, Controversy, and the Ironies of the Mad Made Breast, by Nora Jacobson. While the first US silicone implant may have been introduced in the early 1960s, it's clear that other countries (most notably Japan) were experimenting with both silicone injections and implants. Even Jacobson found the research difficult to pinpoint to dates, given the record keeping at the time.
Reply

Thanks for sharing that title, Elisabeth!

Reply
That should have said "Man Made Breast," not 'mad.' Oops.
Reply
And let's not forget how incredibly brave she was for going through with it .
We have so many information now and so many women did it already. She instead, has been a real "boobies" pioneer :O))) Respect !!! C
Reply
My mom says she had them done in Okinawa in 1957. She said they cut her in the crease below her boobs and they were placed in there as one piece. She said they were silicone. I don't know how to prove that they were put in prior to 1962. She said it was before my brother was born and that was in 1959. So what can I tell you. Perhaps a doctor in Japan had his own method of putting the silicone in her breasts. They look contained to me but who knows exactly how hers were done. It's not like we have japanese medical journals on our websites to prove or disprove how her doctor did her ba. This is a good question. Perhaps he created a contained silicone implant but did not market and patent it like Dow Corning did. I really don't know. Okinawa is a very small island and at that time who knows if the native island doctors documented anything at all. I don't think they had patent offices or anything like that in Okinawa at that time. If I can find the time I will try to contact someone in Japan and see if they can find out. My mom is also over 80 and it's also possible she's not remembering the timeline correctly. Although she insists this is the way it happened and I'm not going to argue with her. Either way her implants are the oldest I've ever seen and I give her a 2 thumbs up for letting me share such an intimate part of her life with the world.
Reply
PS. Sorry, meant "younger" , less old .. :) c
Reply
Flamer , it might come as a bit of a shock, but America really is not the center of the world :/, and .. even if the implants were three/four years older than suggested,.... would it really matter??? They are super old and looking super good . :) C
Reply
I have a question. According to literatures, the first breast implants were invented in 1961 and the first breast augmentation surgery was performed in 1962. How could this lady accept breast augmentation with "silicone gel implants" in 1957 ? Fake news ?
Reply
Wikipedia:
In 1961, the American plastic surgeons Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow, and the Dow Corning Corporation, developed the first silicone breast prosthesis, filled with silicone gel; in due course, the first augmentation mammoplasty was performed in 1962 using the Cronin–Gerow Implant, prosthesis model 1963.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_implant
Reply
Yes they are. They are not American Implants. They were done in Okinawa, Japan. Not in the United States. You are talking about the first implants done in the USA not abroad! Get your facts straight before you post something negative in someone's post. How dare you insult my 80 year old mother by implying she is a liar. Shame on you.
Reply
I agree, US is not the center of the world, but unfortunately, the first silicone breast implants were developed by American. Could you pls provide any references proving there were any silicone breast implants exist before 1961? Here is my reference:
http://www.jprasurg.com/article/S1748-6815(09)00575-0/fulltext
Reply
No. It's not fake news. I only posted them because I mentioned that mine were 30 years old and I was having them redone and also mentioned that my mom has had hers in 50+ years. Realself asked me to take pictures of them and post them and I gladly did. Why would I want to post fake news? Seriously, it never even ocurred to me that anyone would even want to. She's over 80 years old and it's possible she got her timeline wrong. But she insists she had them before my brother was born and that was in 1959. Perhaps they are silicone injections but to me they look contained. Either way they are way way old and I'm not going to argue over whether they are 50 or 55 years old. That wasn't the point here. The point is that they are old and she has not had ANY problems with them ever. That's the purpose of her story, not that they are the oldest or the first!
Reply

And we love you and your mom for sharing these photos! One of the questions hardest to answer for those considering plastic surgery is how well the procedure will age with you. Though many women do need revision implant surgery, it's amazing your mom's have lasted so long, especially considering the quality improvements in implants since then!

Reply
I think she looks great, but then she's my mom. I'll have her put on a bikini and have McKinsey add it to the pics above. She is getting over major back surgery so she has a hard time standing straight but rehab is working on it.
Reply

This is so awesome! As they say, if it ain't broke...

Reply
Awesome... lucky woman :) C
Reply
They look fantastic. Unfortunately, on the web and in the media we mostly hear about the problem cases and not the millions of women out there with implants who are very happy.
Reply
Dr Pozner, do you believe the breast implants appearing before 1961 is ture? see:
http://www.jprasurg.com/article/S1748-6815(09)00575-0/fulltext
Reply

She's awesome! I wonder if she still rocks a bikini.

Reply
Better yet, I wonder if she hangs out on topless beaches. I would if I looked like her. ;-)
Reply