For many years, patients in this country were limited in their breast implant options while the FDA conducted their due diligence on the safety of the new implants already available in Europe, Asia and South American. This had been frustrating for both patients and surgeons alike. Thankfully in the last few years, the FDA proved that these new implants are indeed safe, giving surgeons in the United States considerably more options for delivering a patient’s desired outcome. According to Dr. Louis Bucky of Philadelphia, PA, “having more choices allows us to customize and individualize which ultimately means better patient satisfaction.”
It’s No Longer Just Saline Versus Silicone
It used to be that a patient’s only choice when it came to implants was saline versus silicone. Then it became smooth versus textured. Then round versus shaped. But now, these new implants have various fill volumes, meaning that the same shell can be filled to a higher or lesser profile. These subtle differences in implant size make it considerably easier for a surgeon to deliver a patient’s desired appearance or look. “Matching the implant to the breast is not so different from finding the ideal shoe,” says Bucky. “You don’t want to have an implant that’s too wide for the breast.”
Basically, these new implants give the surgeon more incremental size options which is like having a shoe in a size 7, 7 1/4 and 7 1/2. There are implants that now allow for a more natural look or a less natural look, those that are better for younger patients and older patients who’ve become deflated. For surgeons, it means that he or she must gain familiarity with all of the different options in order to best determine what’s right for each specific patient.
More Choices Makes It Easier to Treat Asymmetry
One of the greatest things about having all of these new implant options is that it makes it easier for the surgeon to treat a patient’s asymmetry because he or she can put a “fuller” implant on the smaller side without having to adjust the width of the implant. “It used to be that if you had 350cc implant in one breast and a 400cc implant in the other, while the volumes were taken care of, the 400cc implant was a lot wider so it’d have an impact on cleavage,” explains Bucky. Now with the surgeon’s ability to adjust the fill volume within the same size implant shell, the dimensions or the width stays the same. Since cleavage is typically one of the reasons that a patient seeks a breast augmentation, these new implants mean much higher patient satisfaction.
It’s All About the Profile
Before the advent of these new implants, patients only had three profile choices: high, intermediate, and low. Each one looked quite different from patient to patient and implant to implant. Implants now have adjusted fill volumes within the same profile. Classically, implants were filled to about 85% which made them softer, but also meant that thinner patients could feel the edge or ripple of the implant. These same implants can be filled another 5-6%, which eliminates this rippling and can give the patient more upper pole fullness for a slightly sexier look. According to Bucky, these new implants allows surgeons, “to customize the need in a patient who has thin tissues versus thick tissues,” and gives patients, “an appearance that they might want that is relatively more subtle than just low profile versus high profile.”