The prevalence of breast implants among women in the United States

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 1996;210:419-25. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-85226-8_45.


Estimates of the number of women with breast implants have varied from less than one million to over three million. Most of these appear to be extrapolations from either industry production figures or reports of surgical procedures. In late 1989 under contract to the Dow Corning Corporation, Market Facts, Inc. conducted a mail survey of 40,000 households selected to be representative of the population of the United States. They received responses from 70.7%. Based upon the data collected, 8.08 per 1,000 women in the United States reported ever having had some type of breast implant. Approximately 60% of the procedures had been done for cosmetic reasons. Most of the women were White (94.6%) and rates were highest in the South or West. Although younger women were more likely to have had implants for augmentation and older women for reconstruction presumptively following breast cancer surgery, the largest prevalences for either of the two procedures were in the 45 to 54 year old age group. Breast implant prevalence also increased in direct proportion to household income with the largest increases being related to cosmetic augmentation. Based upon the data collected in this survey, the total number of women in the United States in late 1989 who had ever had breast implants was estimated to be 815,700 (95% confidence interval: 715,757-924,729).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Breast Implants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology