There are essentially three classifications of breast implants in use today. There is the older single Lumen saline implant, which we rarely use. The saline can slosh freely within this single chamber and they feel more like water balloons than breast tissue. Also, rippling of the implant which is visible through the skin is a chronic problem.
That leaves then the silicone gel implant and the structured saline implant, which goes by the trade name, Ideal implant.
First on terms, when you hear the words gummy bear, cohesive gel, and memory gel, these all are synonymous and refer to the increased molecular crosslinking silicone gel used in the silicone implants. These have been present for the last nine years. It used to be that if you sliced a silicone implant in half, it would leak out like syrup. Now they stay solid like two blocks of Jello.
The Ideal implant improved upon the old saline implants by having a
series of baffles inside which control the sloshing of saline. As a
result, it gives more feel like natural breast tissue or the silicone
There is more data on the Ideal implants than the post listed below. We have an eight-year track history of usage of Ideal implants and enough patients in the first two years to have meaningful data. It appears that the capsular contracture rate, or hardening rate, is lower than any silicone gel brands. In addition, the failure, or leakage rate, is superior versus all the silicone gel. The third advantage the Ideal implant has is that women can always be reassured their implants are intact simply by looking into the mirror. If a leak does occur, then over the next 48 hours, the breast will get noticeably smaller and softer. In the event of a silent rupture with silicone gel implant, one usually needs an MRI to ascertain its status, although a mammogram and sonogram may be able to reveal a leak. In either event, this is not an emergency or something to be fearful of. With the Ideal implant, the saline is sterile IV fluid and simply absorbs. In the case of the silicone implant, it stays confined to the pocket that forms around the implant during the first week after surgery.
The Ideal implant does have one disadvantage in that it is a few hundred dollars more expensive per pair because it is more expensive to manufacture.
Both the silicone gel implant and the Ideal implant have excellent warranties, lifetime replacement for a leak, and in addition, the companies will provide a complimentary implant for the opposite side so that if a patient has to have surgery, she can start fresh again with her implants. In addition, if there is a leak in the first 10 years, the companies do provide some funding to defray the cost of surgery.
I hope this has been helpful for you. I think the Ideal implant has an undeniable place at the table as equal and in some matters superior position versus silicone gel implants.