The Evolution of Silicone Implants: Generation #1 to 5

silicone breast implants

Silicone gel implants have been in existence since 1963 and have advanced radically in the last fifty years. They are the most preferred breast prosthesis in the world, understanding the history and progress of the devices over the years is important when considering any type of breast implant.

The generation and implant type is essential in choosing one since earlier-generation devices are associated with more complications than new ones. The classification of silicone implants based on generations help one to understand the improvement of this devices overtime.

First-Generation Silicone Implants

The first generation of silicone implants was manufactured by Dow Corning from 1964 to 1968. They were produces until 1971 and were characterized by Dacron Patches, placed on the posterior wall.

One of the most common complications from the first generation implants was hardening and distortion of the breast implant before rapture.

Second-Generation Silicone Implants

Second generation of silicone implants were modified with thinner shell and more liquid gel. They were also produced by Dow Corning from 1972 to 1986.

With the Dacron patches removed, it was expected that hardening, distortion and rapture of the breast implants would reduce but that did not happen.

Third-Generation Silicone Implants

In 1984, third generations of silicone implants were introduced. They had thicker barrier shells, a characteristic also found on the fourth and fifth generation devices.

Fourth-Generation Silicone Implants

Devices in this generation are characterized by cross-linking of the gel molecules that produce cohesiveness. The responsive round gel implants were approved by the FDA in 2006.

Fifth-Generation Silicone Implants

The first bunch of the fifth generation silicone implants were introduced in 1993, they differ from fourth generation devices in that the gel has been further cross-linked to offer more firmness.

These are the most popular implants in the world, the highly cohesive gel helps the implant maintain its shape and prevent collapse.


Even though all saline implants will deflate at some point, the rate of deflation varies based on the surgical technique, manufacture and class. Because of the safety and effectiveness of the fourth and fifth generation silicone implants, silicone is now preferred over saline implants by most patients and doctors in the world.