Notes from Dr. Jenq

Breast Augmentation Study

Breast augmentation remains one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States.  Now there is a new study that has been published about the safety and outcomes of silicone implants after surgery over a 10 year period.  Silicone implants are prefilled with silicone, whereas saline implants are manufactured as a shell and then filled with saline during surgery. Silicone implants are generally softer and more pliable compared to saline implants.  In most countries, silicone implants are predominantly used for breast augmentation.  However in the United States, I assume due to FDA recommendations for prophylactic screening with MRI and implant exchanges after 10 years, silicone implants make up a smaller proportions of implants used in breast surgery.

There are three brands of breast implants available in the United States.  One of these brands is Natrelle, which was the subject of this study.  Some interesting findings from the study is the difference in rate of capsular contracture depending on implant placement.  Capsular contracture is a process in which a scar capsule, which normally forms around every implant, can tighten and become overly small around the implant.  If this happens, the implant begins to sit in a less natural position.  Sometimes the breast can look more full up top as the implant becomes more rounded.  It is not a medically dangerous occurrence.  The surgeon usually recommends release of the scar capsule to allow the implant to sit in again in a more natural position.  The study found that the rate of capsular contracture was lower when the implant was placed deep to rather than on top of the chest muscle and also when the scar on the skin was at the base of the breast or around the areola, as opposed to from the armpit.  The study also found that 94% of women with primary breast augmentation at 10 years were satisfied with the implants.

Making a decision regarding surgery for breast augmentation can be helped by discussion of this type of information with your plastic surgeon.  Certainly in the properly selected individual, this type of surgery can bring a lot of patient satisfaction.