Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Are Adjustable Breast Implants A Good Option?

We receive a substantial number of calls about "adjustable breast implants".  Dr. Robert N. Young does do the adjustable breast implants and has always had them, but they may not be the best choice for everyone.  Many people think that this is a new type of implant that is somehow superior to traditional saline or silicone breast implants, but let's look at what they are, as well as the pros and cons of selecting them.

Adjustable breast implants originated in the mid 1980's by Becker, in conjunction with the breast implant manufacturer Mentor.  They were developed as a tissue expander used in breast reconstruction surgeries following mastectomy.  By the late 1980's, surgeons began using the Becker tissue expander in breast augmentation. It was thought of as a solution to achieve the ideal size. While the Becker expanders are still available, many no longer find it suitable due to cost and FDA restrictions.  A new implant called the Spectrum implant, also available by Mentor, is a permanent saline expander that uses the same Becker fill system.

According to Mentor, their "innovative line of SPECTRUM® Breast Implants makes the decision-making process easier because the size can be adjusted after surgery."  These implants allow the surgeon to adjust the size of your implant for up to six months after your procedure.

The ability to go back and change the size to be larger or smaller at a later time is seen as a plus for some. After inserting the implants, the surgeon leaves the filling tube between the stitches of the closed incision and within 3-6 months following the initial surgery (after the swelling has subsided), the surgeon is able to go back and change the size of the implants by taking saline out or putting more in. After the 6 months, the port is removed by the surgeon, and you can no longer change the size of the implants.

The actual Breast Augmentation surgery with adjustable implants is the same as when you use standard saline or silicone implants. The adjustable implants are more expensive, and with Dr. Young you must still undergo general anesthesia, so it can be a more expensive option. You are also limited in the amount of saline that you are able to put in or take out depending on the size of the implant that was chosen from the beginning. This is true whether you use the adjustable implants or standard saline breast implants. In using standard saline implants, we still have the option of adjusting the size up or down during the surgery, and adjustments can be made any time in the future through the fill port with standard implants. Unlike standard implants, with the "adjustable" implants, once the special filling tube is removed, you can never use it again to remove or add saline.

Be careful of media hype about adjustable implants, TUBA breast augmentation (transumbilical), and other promotions that are not always the best solution. Even though adjustable breast implants may be suitable for one woman, it is not the best answer for all. Read more about Breast Augmentation surgery.
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