A third U.S. breast implant manufacturer means more choices for women and could lead to better results for patients according to leading plastic surgeons. “For twenty years there has been two market players,” said Jacksonville, Florida plastic surgeon Dr. Brett Snyder. “We have a third player, and more choices and competition are ultimately better for the consumer,” said Snyder.
Sientra Breast Implant Approved by FDA
That third company is Sientra Inc., based in Santa Barbara, California. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration approved Sientra’s silicone gel implants, known by some as ‘gummy bear‘ implants for their viscous consistency and gelatin like appearance. The implants have been used successfully for more than 25 years outside the U.S. and offer numerous benefits for women seeking cosmetic breast augmentation and reconstruction.
Until recently only two companies, Allergan and Mentor competed head to head for market share. Dr. Lou Bucky, a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said anything that leads to more choices can only be better. “’When you only had two parties participating they tend to look only at each other. When you have a third manufacturer in the breast implant market place, the focus tends to be what could help patients better. They’re not looking at each other, they’re looking forward, and they’re looking at the patient,” said Bucky.
Hani Zeni, the CEO of Sientra said they are the first and only company in the U.S. to provide a full range of breast implants including shaped implants and standard round implants. Dr. Bruce Van Natta from Indianapolis, Indiana said, “Until now, the only approved breast implants in the U.S. market have been round implants with no other choices for surgeons or patients.”
Term ‘Gummy bear’ Implant Causes Confusion among Surgeons and Patients
Dr. William P. Adams Jr., from Dallas, Texas said the marketing terminology of ‘gummy bear’ implants has resulted in confusion for both surgeons and patients. He said, “The term ‘gummy bear’ has been marketed heavily for several different implants, but the reality is there are many types of breast implants and none of them have identical properties of a gummy bear. However, there are silicone gel implants that have enhanced gel cohesivity and the new Sientra implants fit into this category.”
According to these plastic surgeons, many women prefer silicone over saline implants because the look and feel of the implant is more like natural breast tissue. They say surgeons and patients should understand that every silicone gel implant is unique. “We know from multiple studies that the end results are affected more by how the implant is used rather than the implant itself. All these implants are different and the key is to select the right implant for a given patient and then surgically perform state of the art proven techniques to produce optimal patient outcomes,” said Adams.