As breast augmentation surgery continues to grow in popularity, so do the number of different types of breast implant choices. Whereas in the past there were a very limited number of implants available to surgeons, more and better options exist today, providing them more control over the procedure (and results) than ever before. Board certified plastic surgeons Dr. Richard Restifo of Orange, CT and Dr. Steven Camp of Fort Worth, TX discuss one of the latest of these new breasts implants, the Inspira Soft Touch, and whether or not so many options is actually a good thing for patients.
The Inspira Soft Touch Breast Implant
Over the years, there have been numerous generations of cohesive gel silicone breast implants. The main difference between the generations really comes down to “how thick or how how firm the gel feels,” says Dr. Camp. This is something that the patient can easily understand because when a surgeon hands them three different implants, they can literally feel an appreciable difference.
Cohesive gel silicone breast implants now run the spectrum from those that feel very soft to those that feel very firm. The new Inspira Soft Touch breast implant exists somewhere in between. “It’s the Goldilocks approach,” explains Dr. Camp. It’s ideal for patients who want something that’s not as firm as some of the more recent cohesive gel implants, but is still more form stable than those older, softer gel implants that are on still the market.
Are There Too Many Breast Implant Options?
The Inspira Soft Touch breast implant is really just another choice in a rapidly expanding market. But is this a good thing? Not necessarily, according to Dr. Restifo. “We have choices of size. We have choices of shape. We have choices of profile. And now, we have a difference of feel.” It can be overwhelming for the patient. There are almost too many decisions for them to make when it comes to their breast augmentation:
- What type of fill? Saline vs. Silicone
- How much fill or should the implants be overfilled?
- Is a shaped implant or a round implant better?
- What is the best placement for your implant? Above or below the muscle?
- What type of incision is best? Around the nipple? In the armpit? Under the breast?
Dr. Restifo feels that the expanding number of breast implant options is really just the breast implant manufacturers attempt at market differentiation. “The patients are overwhelmed and confused and I would challenge any plastic surgeon to hold a soft touch in one hand and a non soft touch in the other hand and then distinguish between the two.” And, as he points out, breast implants weren’t made to be held. They were made to go into your body, and in most cases, under your chest muscle which is going to further mask any perceived difference. “A difference that does not make a difference is no difference at all,” says Dr. Restifo.
Is It All Just Marketing?
While Dr. Restifo feels that the Inspira Soft Touch breast implant or any of the other “new” breast implants are really just about marketing, Dr. Camp disagrees. He applauds the energy that the breast implant manufacturers are putting forward, creating innovative new implants that, for the right patient, may deliver better results. He acknowledges that there is a lot of hype around the newest and latest breast implants, and agrees that just because an implant has a certain firmness, shape and feel does not necessarily mean that it will deliver a different result than an already existing implant.
“I think that there is a limited role for some of these new, expanding devices” says Dr. Camp. The vast majority of patients are still going to be best served by the traditional gel implants that have delivered proven, good results over the years. Bottom line, just because something is new and different does not make it better. That is marketing and it is something that surgeons need to be aware of, but choice is always a good thing.
Dr. Restifo has been performing breast augmentations for twenty five years, and every time a new implant comes out, patients want it because advertising and the media have made it out to be the newest and, therefore, the best. So, plastic surgeons start using the new implant because they want happy patients, “but then you look at your practice experience and your revision rate goes up because how you used to manage the positioning of the implants is altered by the new type of implant,” explains Restifo. “I think that we’d be better served sticking with what we know works.”