The Surgeon Minute

Advances in Breast Implants

Advances in Breast Implants

The breast implant debacle in the early nineties brought strong, directed attention to not only the device itself but also to the fact that breast implant manufacturers weren’t really listening to their two market audiences – plastic surgeons and their patients. Silicone breast implants were taken off the market and studied for 16 years returning to the market in late 2006 with drastic improvements. However, the word silicone certainly still leaves a bad taste in some people’s mouths as they continue to believe that silicone causes breast cancer and autoimmune diseases among other myths and scary terms.

The truth is, silicone was proven to never cause breast cancer or autoimmune disease, however, they were failing too fast. They did not last long enough; thus the scary term “silent rupture”. And neither surgeons nor manufacturers were educating patients that they would, at some point, need to have another operation to replace their breast implants.  Finally, though, Drs. Ashley Gordon and Dustin Reid of Austin feel like things are changing and manufacturers are finally listening.

by Terrye Tebbetts
and Ashley Gordon, MD and Dustin Reid, MD

What has changed?

“Implants have changed. Not so much in the chemical nature of the gel but in the fill volume and cohesivity of the gel,” explains Dr. Reid. Dr. Gordon says fill volume is very important in protecting the shell of the implant. Protecting the shell certainly makes it last longer! Holding up the new generation of implants, Gordon says, “So you can see there is very little rippling and wrinkling.” She believes these new implants will be very helpful in revision cases where patients often have very thin coverage over the implant.

Because the gel is firmer and the shell is overfilled, there is less rippling and wrinkling. However, Reid says, “The trade-off may be that the implant is a little firmer to the touch. But for patients, that is a very easy trade-off for not being able to see the implant.” In the past, secondary or revision breast surgery patients have found themselves with fewer options the second time around. Fortunately, changes in breast implant manufacturing are offering this important group of patients more and better alternatives.

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A Unique Alternative

One of the most unique implant advances is a round implant that is filled with a very highly cohesive silicone gel. This implant holds its round shape and for those patients looking for more upper pole fullness. The combination of more fill in each shell and the firmer gel will help the implant hold more fullness in the upper pole of the breast for a longer period of time.

“It is so nice to have so many different options to offer patients now! There are so many different shapes and profiles. But sometimes, I think it can be confusing to patients when they try to work out all of the options at home before they even come see us for consult,” says Gordon. But don’t worry, with so many options and choices, she assures patients, “There really is the right implant for everyone.”

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Customizing Breast Augmentation

All of the implant variables that are available in the market today allow surgeons to account for all of the variables patients have as humans. “Everybody’s body is different. Everybody’s desired outcome is different,” says Reid. Both Reid and Gordon make it a point not only to discuss available implant options and choices, but to truly analyze and consider what the patient brings them to work with and what their goals and desired outcomes are.

With the advances in breast implant technology and design, it is truly possible for plastic surgeons to customize breast augmentation to each individual patient.

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