Timeline: A short history of breast implants

(Reuters) - Following is a look at the history of breast implants. Jean-Claude Mas, whose company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) sparked a global health scare by using substandard silicone, was arrested Thursday.

Breast implants are pockets of liquid that are placed inside a breast to increase its size or adjust its appearance. There are two main kinds, containing either saline (salt water) or silicone, a squishy gel.

1895 - Austrian-German surgeon Vincenz Czerny, known as ‘the father of plastic surgery’, performs breast reconstruction on a woman at the University of Heidelberg.

1945 - After World War Two in Japan, prostitutes catering to the tastes of the U.S. military, begin injecting industrial silicone directly into their breasts. They previously tried goats’ milk and paraffin.

1962 - Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow invent the silicone breast implant. Texan Timmie Jean Lindsey becomes the first woman to have the procedure.

1976 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates silicone breast implants, subjecting them to controls and performance standards.

1982 - The FDA places breast implants in the more rigorous class III category, because of “reports of adverse events in the medical literature.”

1991 - Jean-Claude Mas establishes Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) based in southern France, near Toulon.

December 1991 - Mariann Hopkins wins $7.3 million from Dow Corning for health issues linked to her ruptured implants. More than 130 lawsuits have so far been filed against Dow Corning.

January 1992 - FDA calls for a voluntary moratorium on the use of silicone gel breast implants until safety has been reviewed.

-- Several countries follow the FDA’s lead including Germany, Spain, France, Austria and Italy. Saline breast implants are not affected.

March 1992 - Several major medical manufacturers including Dow Corning, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Bioplasty withdraw from the silicone implant market.

April 1992 - The FDA advises that silicone breast implants should only be used for reconstruction after surgery or to correct congenital deformities.

May 1995 - Faced by massive lawsuits, Dow Corning files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; litigation was halted by the filing.

1996 - PIP begins selling saline-filled implants in the United States, but its failure to gain necessary pre-market approval in 2000 from the FDA to keep selling these implants cuts off that key market.

2000 - France lifts its ban on silicone implants.

December 2000 - The United Kingdom bans PIP hydrogel implants given to 4,000 women since 1994, finding the manufacturer’s biological safety assessment of the product to be inadequate.

2006 - The FDA lifts its restrictions on silicone breast implants, clearing them for cosmetic use in women aged from 22.

2010 - Breast implantation is the most popular form of plastic surgery in the United States with 318,123 augmentations performed, 62 percent of which used silicone implants.

March 2010 - France’s health regulator, AFSSAPS, performs an inspection of PIP’s headquarters. AFSSAPS orders the withdrawal of silicone breast implants made by PIP from the market. PIP files for bankruptcy.

December 2011 - France’s health minister announces that the 30,000 French women with PIP implants should have them removed and it will pay for the operations. Venezuela, Germany and the Czech Republic also advise that implants should be removed.

-- The United Kingdom does not advise women to remove the implants, but says the National Health Service will replace implants for patients to whom it had provided the surgery.

January 26. 2012 - Mas and CEO Claude Couty are arrested.

Sources: Reuters/FDA/PBS/MHRA

Reporting by Naomi O’Leary, David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit and Alexandria Sage, Paris