Polyurethane Foam-Covered Silicone Implants
(“German Furries” by Polytech)
A new and safer choice for Australian women!
The most significant advance ever regarding the range of Breast Implants available in Australia was the introduction of polyurethane foam covered silicone gel implants in 2008. These proven safer implants are used in over 35 countries worldwide and were first approved for use in Australia by the Government’s regulatory body, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, in 2008.
Polyurethane Foam-Covered implants contain cohesive silicone gel like all other silicone implants, the difference being the ultra-thin 1-2mm layer of polyurethane foam that is bonded to the outside of the implant shell. This layer of polyurethane foam gives the implants a “furry” feel – hence their popular name “Furries”!
The main advantages of polyurethane foam covered silicone breast implants are that they dramatically reduce the risks of:
- Capsular contracture – the commonest reason for repeat surgery; and
- Implant rotation or “displacement” – (movement away from its original position) – another common reason for repeat surgery.
By nature, every breast implant within a matter of months becomes completely encased by a thin, soft fibrous envelope called the ‘capsule’. Capsular contracture occurs when this normally undetectable fibrous envelope contracts and shrinks in a way similar to ‘shrink wrap’. This compresses the implant and makes the breast feel firmer and sometimes distorts its shape as well.
However, despite the firmer ‘feel’ of the breast, there is nothing wrong with the breast itself or the implant. It’s only the contraction of the capsule around the implant that is creating the ‘firmness’. Once removed, the breast will again feel soft as before. Revision surgery to remove the contracted capsule is known as capsulectomy.
Capsular contracture has been reported in many studies to be the most common reason for repeat surgery after breast augmentation. Although the reported incidence of this complication has varied widely between studies, the 10 year multi-centre Allergan Core Study in North America completed in 2010 reported that 19.1% (which translates into approximately 1 in 5) of the women in the study with traditional smooth or textured breast implants required repeat surgery for capsular contracture within 10 years of their breast augmentation.
In contrast, polyurethane foam covered implants have a dramatically lower risk of capsular contracture of around 1% (1 in 100 women).
Here are just three of the many reports on the ability of polyurethane covered silicone implants to dramatically reduce the risk of capsular contracture:
- Dr Guillermo Vazquez, a Plastic Surgeon in Argentina, reported his experience using these implants in 1,257 patients over an 18 year period. He concluded:”Polyurethane coated silicone gel implants …. are the best option for augmentation mammoplasty and have the lowest incidence of fibrous Capsular Contraction (1%)”Source: Vazquez, G. Polyurethane-Coated Silicone Gel Breast Implants Used for 18 years. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2007.
- Dr Neal Handel, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles reviewed all of the breast implant patients from his practice covering the period 1981-2004. 345 Smooth Implants, 618 Textured and 568 Polyurethane Foam-Covered Implants had been used.Dr Handel reported:”Based on analysis of our data, we conclude that the Contracture rate after all types of breast surgery is dramatically lower with Polyurethane Foam-Covered implants than with Smooth or Textured implants””There is nothing…to suggest that polyurethane foam, or its in-vivo breakdown products, pose a threat to the health or safety of patients. Polyurethane implants have measurable advantages over Smooth and mechanically-Textured gel-filled prostheses and do not appear to be associated with an increased risk of complications or morbidity.”Source: Handel, N. Long–term safety and efficacy of Polyurethane Foam-Covered Breast Implants. Aesthetic Surgery Journal Vol.26 2006
- Dr Roderick Hester, Dr John Tebbetts and Dr Patrick Maxwellfrom Georgia, Dallas and Nashville respectively, reviewed the literature on, and their experience with, Polyurethane-Covered Breast Implants. The senior author concluded:”During the span of this author’s practice, he has never been able to match the number and quality of superior results exemplified by these patients when using other devices.”Source: Hester T.R., Tebbbets, J. Maxwell, G.P. The polyurethane-covered mammary prosthesis: Facts and fiction (II). Clinics in Plastic Surgery Vol.28 2001.
Implant Displacement & Rotation of ‘Tear Drop’ (Anatomical) Implants
With any breast implant:
- Movement of the implant away from its original position (‘displacement’); or
- Rotation of a ‘tear drop’ implant
– will produce a deformed appearance and require repeat surgery to return the implant to its original position. The Allergan Core Study (2008) reported that after capsulectomy, implant displacement with smooth and textured implants made up the second most common complication requiring revision surgery.
In contrast, polyurethane foam covered implants (because of their “Velcro-like” adherence to the pocket walls) virtually eliminate this risk of displacement or rotation.
A Frequently Asked Question: What If My Surgeon Doesn’t Use These Implants?
Unfortunately for patients, not all breast augmentation surgeons are currently offering Australian women the opportunity of considering these proven safer polyurethane foam covered silicone implants because:
- Not all surgeons can admit what the FDA knows: that complications are all too common with smooth and textured-surface implants.
- Polyurethane foam covered silicone implants are more difficult to use, there is a long learning curve and many surgeons are either unwilling or unable to master the different techniques these implants require.
- Polyurethane foam covered silicone implants cost more and with the current era of discounted breast implant surgery, these implants are not being offered by clinics seeking to contain their costs and look more attractive on price.
Owing to their ability to dramatically reduce the risks of the most common complications after breast augmentation – and thereby lower the risks of repeat surgery – we at Breast Excellence believe that every woman considering breast augmentation should at least be offered the polyurethane foam covered implants for her consideration.
How you would you feel if your Smooth or Textured-Surface implants developed Capsular Contracture, or moved out of position – requiring further surgery at considerable additional cost? And what if your surgeon had not offered you, or even worse, talked you out of the polyurethane foam covered implants, which may have prevented your complication?
Accordingly, if you find that the surgeon you are seeing does not offer these implants as a choice, or has limited experience in their use, you owe it to yourself to seek a second opinion from one that does.