Most all of us are familiar with saline breast implants. Basically, they are a silicone shell filled with sterile water. They’ve been FDA approved since the year 2000. But now, there’s a new saline breast implant on the market called the IDEAL IMPLANT.
The inventor of the implant is Dr. Robert Hamas, a plastic surgeon from Dallas, Texas. He says original saline implants were much like a water balloon, but this implant is different. “What’s novel about this was the idea of making the shells the baffles, and nesting them inside each other much like a Russian doll. It’s a series of shells nested together and that alters the fluid movement and makes them feel natural,” says Dr. Hamas. The natural feel and the peace of mind of having saline in your body instead of silicone gel, Hamas says, is the appeal.
The Debate Continues… Silicone vs. Saline
But not all plastic surgeons are convinced. “I have some concern of what the long term failure rate is going to be,” says Dr. Mark Epstein, a plastic surgeon from Long Island, New York. Dr. Epstein says this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a similar saline implant and those implants had a significant rupture rate. “The more complex you make a device, the more likely it’s going to be to fail because you’re creating additional failure points.”
Still, Hamas says, the IDEAL IMPLANT has advantages over silicone. “Our capsular contracture rate is lower than any other implant based on our five year data,” states Hamas. But is 5 years long enough? Epstein believes new implants need to be studied for a longer period. “I would like to see long term data and we’re just not there yet,” says Epstein.
Typically, women who choose saline implants are making the decision based on the fear of silicone. It’s important to note, silicone gel implants have been studied longer than any other implant on the market. They were approved by the FDA in 2006 and there’s no evidence linking silicone implants with any serious medical diseases.
Another reason the ideal implant appeals to women Hamas says, is they can look in the mirror and know their implant is intact. With a silicone gel implant it can be difficult to know. It’s known as a silent rupture. “If this [IDEAL IMPLANT] ruptures or breaks, you absorb the saline, it’s completely safe. You can have it repaired quite easily and it comes out complete. Gel implants, when they rupture, they’re hard to diagnosis, you need an MRI and getting them out is a pretty sticky mess,” says Hamas.
Epstein counters, “Yes, it’s true when the silicone gel implant ruptures, you’ll have silicone gel to remove, however all implants when put in the body form a scar capsule around the implant and that will contain the gel.”
Do Your Research
The verdict is still out and the controversy surrounding breast implants seems to never go away. The important thing to remember is to gather information on all your implant options, so you can make an informed decision.
The IDEAL IMPLANT is currently available through a network of plastic surgeons in the U.S. However, the company website says in the future the manufacturing capacity will expand adding to the Network throughout the US and Canada, as well as internationally.