Silicone breast implants have improved tremendously over the years due to improvements in both shell design and silicone gel structure, but saline implants have seen very little change and are avoided by most plastic surgeons I know.
I have always offered saline implants to my patients, especially those seeking a small or modest breast augmentation, as I think they are very good products that have certain advantages and feel similar to silicone implants when covered by a modest amount of breast tissue.
The most significant advantage of saline implants is that you, the patient, are the first one to know if the implant ruptures. It simply deflates as your body absorbs the saline. Unfortunately, saline implants have a higher rupture rate than silicone implants, so while you can detect rupture much more easily, rupture nevertheless happens more often with saline implants.
Still, most patients prefer the more natural feel of silicone implants. Until now…
Dr. Robert Hamas, a retired plastic surgeon in Texas, has developed a saline implant that feels very similar to a silicone implant and has several advantages over all current implants available. This novel implant is essentially a saline implant within a saline implant.
Saline implants have a silicone shell, so this implant has a shell within a shell, with several additional layers between the two implants that have slits in them called “baffles”. These slow down the flow of saline as the implant is manipulated, effectively turning a substance that is not form-stable (saline) into one that feels like it is.
If you feel this implant under a 1cm sheet of padding, it is nearly indistinguishable from a silicone implant. There are other aspects of the implant design that are intended to improve projection and reduce rippling. You can learn more at idealimplant.com.
I am really excited to offer this implant, as it combines the advantages of both silicone and saline implants. It certainly may be the ideal implant. Studies have shown that rupture and contracture rates are similar, if not better, than current implant offerings. It is currently FDA-approved for use in primary or revision breast augmentation, and I am open to using it “off-label” for patients undergoing breast reconstruction.
Although a limited number of implant sizes are available (compared to the major manufacturer’s offerings), it is likely one is available that will suit your needs and there are sure to be more available in the future. If you are interested in exploring the Ideal® implant, please call us to schedule a consultation!