Thanks to the internet and breast implant manufacturers direct to consumer advertising, patients today know considerably more about breast implants than at any other time in history. In many ways, this is great! Knowledge is always power after all. But with breast implants in particular, there are so many variables that go into choosing the right implant for your individual body that it can be an overwhelming decision for many patients.
You might think you know what size breast implant you want, but what about shape? Fill volume? Texture? This is where Vectra 3D imaging can really make a difference. Dr. Daniel Y. Maman of New York, NY discusses breast implant choices and how Vectra 3D imaging allows him to show his breast augmentation patients exactly how a specific breast implant will look on their individual body.
Breast Implant Choices – Lots of Variables
In the United States, there are three manufacturers who are FDA approved to make breast implants. As far as Dr. Maman is concerned, however, “the manufacturer itself is sort of irrelevant.” Each implant, regardless of who makes it, has certain characteristics, components and aspects that Maman needs to consider when choosing the right implant for a particular patient. Size is certainly a consideration, but it’s only one in a long list of variables.
Some of the other things that you and your surgeon need to think about when choosing a breast implant are:
- fill (saline or silicone)
- base width
- fill pressure
- fill heights
Fill is probably the easiest one of these decisions to make as there are only two options: saline and silicone. Both have pros and cons, but 99.9% of the implants that Dr. Maman uses are silicone, and he’s not alone. The reason for this is that the new silicone gel breast implants both feel and look more natural while being completely safe. In fact, they are one of the most rigorously tested medical devices in the country.
Breast Implant Shape
Round used to be the only option when it came to breast implant shape, but now, there are tear drop or anatomic shaped implants. It’s one of the more confusing decisions for many patients partly because breast implant manufacturers have started doing a lot of direct to consumer advertising. Patients may read about a specific shaped implant online or see an ad and think ‘I want that’ without really understanding how that particular breast implant will interact with their anatomy. It’s the job of the plastic surgeon, during your initial consultation, to determine whether or not a shaped implant will deliver a your desired outcome.
Always it’s about educating the patient. A lot of the time, when patients request anatomic shaped implants, they don’t actually understand the pros and cons of these implants, and once they do, they may change their mind. While anatomic shaped implants can work wonders on a specific body type, they’re not the right choice for everyone.
3D Imaging Allows You to See Your Breast Implant Choice
With so many variables to consider when choosing a breast implant, how do you pick the right one? “One of the great things in our practice is that we have the Vectra 3D imaging technology which is enormously accurate for breast surgery,” says Dr. Maman. 3D imaging allows the surgeon to take 3 dimensional photos of the patient, and then choose the implant parameters based on all of the variables such as width, projection, height of the implant, shape of the implant, fill volume and size. The program then creates a 3D reconstruction of what that patient will actually look like post-operatively with her exact implant choice.
Since most of us have a hard time conceptualizing 3D, and yet are also visual creatures, this is an enormously important educational tool. “I think that patients are amazed with what the Vectra 3D imaging technology can show them,” explains Maman. Instead of sitting in the consult and worrying about which implant is the right one, patients can go home with an actual picture of what that breast implant will look like on their body. They have the time to study it,s how it to their spouse and friends, and get the feedback that they need.
Furthermore, it allows patients to make the decision about which breast implant choice is the right one for them in a calm, calculated manner, in the privacy of their own home. Seeing a plastic surgeon who has 3D imaging capabilities in their office takes away a lot of the fear and the “what ifs” from your breast implant decision. And since implants today last way longer than the 10 year shelf life of breast implants of yore, it is vital to get this decision right the first time.