The IDEAL Implant is the “Ideal Option” for Breast Augmentation
July 2, 2018 @ 3:30 PM — by Dina Eliopoulos
As many of you know, aesthetic surgery of the breast is one of my areas of expertise, and certainly breast augmentation in particular is one of the most common procedures I perform. I am very excited to introduce to you the IDEAL Implant®, also known as a Structured Breast Implant, which I now offer to women considering breast augmentation. Being a woman myself, I feel like I can especially understand what women’s goals and concerns are when they are trying to decide if breast augmentation is right for them and if they feel comfortable maintaining an implant. While I continue to offer silicone implants, as well as traditional saline implants to my breast augmentation patients, I think that informed women considering breast augmentation will find the IDEAL Implant to be a game changer!
The IDEAL Implant was developed by a plastic surgeon with the goal to create the "ideal” implant that would blend the cosmetic benefits of the silicone that we love with some of the peace of mind that comes with a saline implant in terms of monitoring. In general, I think our modern highly cohesive silicone gels give a beautiful, soft, natural result that traditional saline implants cannot beat. Silicone gel implants tend to have a softer, more natural feel than traditional saline implants, with better maintenance of upper breast fullness, with less chance of palpability or visible wrinkling compared to saline. But these aesthetic benefits of silicone do not come without a price. I always have a frank discussion with my patients about the potential for “silent rupture” of the silicone gel. This means that if the silicone gel were to rupture, we cannot tell by examination since the volume stays put and does not get absorbed away like saline implant rupture.
While ruptured silicone is not dangerous, it can cause some changes to the breast locally, such as capsular contracture, which may manifest as firmness or change in shape, or discomfort to the breast. The best way to determine if a silicone implant is intact is through an MRI and the FDA has made recommendations that women should screen their silicone implants 3 years out from surgery and every 2 years after that. But I find that most patients do not always follow this recommendation because of the self-pay cost. Also, an MRI is not always accurate, and only gives us one snapshot in time. For these reasons, I also talk to patients about the option of prophylactically exchanging silicone implants after 10 years, potentially before it ruptures. This date is not set in stone, but because implants are durable, the rate of rupture prior to 10 years is low, so we would not typically consider prophylactic exchange prior to that.
Traditional Saline implants do not have the problem of silent rupture. Because the saline is naturally absorbed after rupture (which is not dangerous), patients can detect the loss of volume. So, in general, some women choose saline for this additional peace of mind and are willing to give up some of the cosmetic benefits.
But now consider the IDEAL Implant. This structured implant is saline-filled, but completely different from traditional saline implants. Its unique design with dual lumens and several inner nested shells provide support to the edges and control fluid movement. These features make the IDEAL Implant feel soft and maintain better upper breast fullness more like a silicone gel without the “water balloon or bouncy feel", and with less risk of wrinkling and palpability problems of traditional saline. There is no risk of silent rupture, you can simply look in the mirror and know your IDEAL Implant is intact. No MRI scans are needed, and no need to consider prophylactic exchange as with silicone. Also, clinical trial results at 6 years show the IDEAL Implant has a lower rate of capsular contracture and a lower rate of rupture than silicone gel or saline implants for primary augmentation.
To me, this sounds amazing! And I think this is why many of my informed patients are now choosing the IDEAL Implant. I'm excited to share this option with you, so please come into our Chelmsford plastic surgery practice and take a feel for yourself and do your own side by side comparison!
Best, Dr. Eliopoulos