Polyurethane Breast Implants- Questions & Answers

Aug 18, 2011 by

I found this website with a great Q & A regarding Polyurethane implants. I don’t know the clinic that runs the website, but it appears they use the Pure Implants from the U.K.

There is a load of good information, click here to read it in full (links to Harley Street Plastic Surgery:  http://harleystreetsurgery.com/treatments/category/breast/breast-implants

Some of the Q & A’s that jumped out at me:

What is the difference between Polyurethane implants and other breast implants?

All breast implants are made of an outer silicone shell, which is either filled with a cohesive silicone gel or saline (water with 0.9% salt). The outer silicone shell and the cohesive silicone gel filler is the same in Polyurethane covered implants as it is with other implants that don’t have a Polyurethane foam surface. Therefore, only the surface is different.

This is a great question and point- a Polyurethane implant is silicone gel implant with a different shell. I wonder how many don’t understand this? That a Polyurethane implant is not a different implant from a silicone gel implant- a Polyurethane is similar to a textured or smooth implant in that it uses the same same silicone gel but just has a different kind of shell.

Why were Polyurethane surface implants developed?

From the development of the first breast implants in 1962, the most common complication associated with Breast implant surgery is that of Capsular Contraction. This is where the bodies membrane, which grows around all implants and which normally you can’t see or feel, behaves like “shrink-wrap”, compressing the implant causing it to feel firm or hard, sometimes painful and often distorting its shape. Capsular contraction was very common (40-60%) with early smooth walled breast implants. Polyurethane Implants reduced the occurrence of Capsular Contracture down to 1-3%, a significant reduction. Textured silicone implants were developed in the late 1980’s to mimic the Polyurethane foam surface. Early research has shown textured silicone surface implants to reduce or slow down the onset of capsular contraction, however recent large multi-centred core studies show that the incidence of Capsular contracture with textured implants still remains high at 8-13% over 3 years₂ and rising to 15.5% over 7 years. The Polyurethane foam surface helps break up this membrane and has been shown to reduce capsular contraction to very low levels. Many studies indicate that the capsular contraction rates as low as 1% over 18 years.

I love this question as it details the reason behind the implants- solving capsular contracture. The sad part about this question, the answer and the history- as of 2011 we still have not solved capsular contracture with the USA FDA approved implants. Lucky for the clinic that wrote this Q & A that they are not based in the USA and can use the implant- Polyurethane- that solves the capsular contracture problem. There will be many happy women in England, and a lot of unhappy women with  in capsular contracture the USA.

Should I consider having Polyurethane Surface implants?

Over the many years of use and the many studies and publications reported, Polyurethane implants have by far the lowest rates of capsular contraction of any breast implant, at around 0-3% over 15 years. A study by Dr Neal Handel MD et al (Long-term study of outcomes, complications and patient satisfaction with breast implants) published in 2007, compared complication rates of different types of breast implants, smooth, textured and Polyurethane surface over a 15 year period. His study showed a significantly lower incidence of capsular contraction using Polyurethane surface implants compared to other surface types. This has also been highlighted by many other studies that are listed below, including Polyurethane-Coated Silicone Gel Breast Implants Used for 18 years, by Dr G Vazquez, again published in 2007.

Maybe this question should be re-phrased a bit to be: Should I consider my chances of a capsular contracture or re-operation before having breast augmentation? The answer to the question answers yes- every patient should consider complications before a breast implant surgery and use the doctor and products that will provide the ideal aesthetic outcome and safety.

Will Polyurethane implants feel natural?

No breast implant “feels” exactly like breast tissue, however it has been reported in various articles, that Polyurethane implants feel “warmer” and “less alien” than other breast implants. Polyurethane implants do take slightly longer to soften after surgery. You should expect the final result after 45-60 days.

The furry brazilian website has not addressed feel very much- I am always hesitant to make definitive statements regarding a subjective issue like “feel”. What know is this- capsular contracture causes a firm or hard capsule around the implant- if the capsule is contracture free if will feel soft and more natural- this leads to a more natural feel post-augmentation. As detailed at the beginning of this article- Polyurethane implants are made with silicone gel, the same silicone gel as used in smooth and textured implants. This means the feel of the implants should be about the same- but an improved capsule should provide a better, more natural feel for a Polyurethane implant.

Will my breast implants move?

Another significant advantage of the Pure – Polyurethane surface implants is that they do not move and will remain in the space created by your surgeon. This is particularly important in patients receiving implants, or implants that are shaped.

Another nice aesthetic question and answer- the lack of migration of Polyurethane implants means a doctor can use any shape of implant without fear of the implant moving or rotating. Many doctors are hesitant to use an anatomical implant- if an anatomical implant moves or rotates the appearance will be very poor (as opposed to a round implant, which could rotate without a change in appearance). With a Polyurethane implant not moving or rotating, the doctor can provide the best shaped implant for the patient’s desired look without worry.

Should I massage my breasts after surgery?

With the Pure – Polyurethane implants, it is not recommended to massage your breast as they should remain soft and in place after your surgery. A good support bra is recommended for the first 4-6 weeks.

Another thing not detailed on this site- post operative care. A common question and good answer.

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