From the first half of the twentieth century, physicians used other substances as breast implant fillers—ivory, glass balls, ground rubber, ox cartilage, Terylene wool, gutta-percha, Dicora, polyethylene chips, Ivalon (polyvinyl alcohol—formaldehyde polymer sponge), a polyethylene sac with Ivalon, polyether foam sponge (Etheron), polyethylene tape (Polystan) strips wound into a ball, polyester (polyurethane foam sponge) Silastic rubber, and teflon-silicone prostheses.
The ‘gummy bear’ implant comes in both round and teardrop shapes. They have a firmer gel, which may give a better shape and may last longer. The round gummy bear implant is often a good choice for women with looser tissues and who want a more durable implant that remains soft. The teardrop shaped gummy bear implant may be a good choice for women whose tissues are relatively tight and desire a very proportionate and natural looking enhancement with less fullness of the upper portion of the breast and more projection and fullness of the lower portion of the breast.
Functional breast-feeding difficulties arise if the surgeon cut the milk ducts or the major nerves innervating the breast, or if the milk glands were otherwise damaged. Milk duct and nerve damage are more common if the incisions cut tissue near the nipple. The milk glands are most likely to be affected by subglandular implants (under the gland), and by large-sized breast implants, which pinch the lactiferous ducts and impede milk flow. Small-sized breast implants, and submuscular implantation, cause fewer breast-function problems; however, it is impossible to predict whether a woman who undergoes breast augmentation will be able to successfully breast feed since some women are able to breast-feed after periareolar incisions and subglandular placement and some are not able to after augmentation using submuscular and other types of surgical incisions.
“I’ve found that sometimes MRIs are not actually very reliable. In some instances, a patient’s MRI said the silicone gel implant had ruptured, and then when I went in to operate on it, it actually hadn’t. I’ve had one or two patients where an MRI showed the implant wasn’t ruptured, but based on my clinical exam I really thought there was a concern, so I went in and it turned out it was ruptured.”
Manufacturer’s warranty programs can mitigate some of the costs of treating complications. But, the warranty payment is only available if a rupture is detected. Some surgeons fail to inform their patients of the need for periodic MRIs, or downplay the FDA recommendation in order to make a sale. “Many women don’t know about the maintenance costs and potential expenses of silicone gel implants,” reports Dr. Ellen Mahony, board-certified plastic surgeon in Westport, CT. “Because rupture with a silicone gel implant is ‘silent,’ it can go undetected for an extended period, often not becoming obvious until the process of capsular contraction has begun.” Capsular contraction leads to a more complex surgery. That means added surgical costs which your warranty may not cover.