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How the IDEAL Breast Implant Evolved

In recent years, the number of women opting to have breast implant surgery has risen quite dramatically. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) nearly 300,000 women had breast augmentation in 2014, making it the top plastic surgery procedure. Saline, silicone gel implants and more recently, gummy bear, were the available options. However, there is a strong likelihood that this might change with the arrival of the IDEAL implant – a unique solution that blends the best features of its counterparts. Let’s look at the circumstances that led to the development of this truly exceptional implant.

The history of breast augmentation goes back a long way – a hundred years to be precise. Bigger breasts were obviously considered a symbol of femininity even then and women used various kinds of filler materials to go from one cup size to another. Then breast implants arrived and became hugely popular despite their risk of rupture and leakage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved saline breast implants in 2000. They are filled with sterile salt water and considered safe as the saline solution would be absorbed by the body if leakage occurs. The downside is their unnatural feel and risk of rupture. The FDA points out that loss of size or shape can be noticed immediately or may progress slowly over a period of days.

In November 2006, the FDA approved silicone gel breast implants in for women use by over the age of 22. The major issue with silicone implants is that rupture might go unnoticed as the silicone tends to remain trapped in the surrounding tissue, leading to pain, inflammation, pain and formation of additional scar tissue. In such cases, the implant would have to be removed. So even when the FDA approved silicone gel breast implants, it recommended that women with silicone implants have a breast MRI to detect rupture three years after getting the implants and every two years after that.

Gummy bear breast implants were introduced as a solution to these issues. They are after named after gummy bear candies as they use a thicker, more cohesive silicone gel. Their shell and gel are also thicker to reduce the risk of breakage or leakage into the body. However, an article in Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) points out that no research has been published that establishes the safety of gummy bear implants over other silicone gel options for long-term use.

Now all eyes are on the latest innovation in the breast implant technology – the IDEAL implant which offers the natural feel of silicone gel-filled implants combined with the safety of only saline inside. It is specially designed to include the best aspects of its counterparts, while overcoming their limitations, especially the risk of silent rupture.

The design of this new implant was conceived by a plastic surgeon and approved by the FDA based on results from a multi-center US clinical trial with 502 women that started in 2009. The simple, but unique, internal structure of the IDEAL implant comprises two saline-filled chambers and a series of shells of increasing size nested together. This unique multi-layered design controls the movement of the saline filler and minimizes the chances of folding, wrinkling, rupture and deflation and gives the implant a natural feel.

Are women happy with this new option? The clinical trial also evaluated satisfaction with the outcome of the procedure and patient satisfaction was high at 94.3% of women who had primary augmentation and 90.6% of women who had replacement augmentation.