Trying a New Filler for Breast Implants
It has been more than a century since Dr. Robert Gersuny of
Vienna first tried to give a woman a more impressive decolletage
by injecting paraffin into her breasts. Since then, all manner
of materials have been injected or implanted in the quest for
bust augmentation: glass balls, wood, cartilage, animal fat,
sponges, ivory and polyurethane.
The most popular, of course, were silicone implants, first
dreamed up by Dr. Frank Gerow, a Houston surgeon whose inventive
epiphany came when he squeezed a plastic blood transfusion bag
and was impressed by how much it resembled a human breast.
Silicone implants were banned in 1991 amid concerns that they
caused autoimmune disease. Thus, the quest for an ideal breast
implant material continues.
The latest candidate comes from Dr. Robert Allen Smith, a plastic
surgeon in Jackson, Miss., who this month patented what he
hopes will be the next big innovation in bust augmentation.
What material does Dr. Smith use in these new implants? Hair.
Or, rather, keratin, the protein that hair is made of. The
keratin, as Dr. Smith notes in patent 6,371,984, does not have to
come from human hair. It may also be obtained "from hair or fur
of animals including any mammal, from finger or toenail material
or from hooves, or from the beaks, feet or feathers of birds."
Dr. Smith first conceived of the idea about a decade ago when
he was redoing a face lift on a patient whose previous lift had
been done by another surgeon.
[04/29/2002; New York Times (Free Registration Required)]
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