Which Company Makes the Best Implants?
Well naturally a representative from each company would immediately respond “Ours does!”, and of course each company has scientific data which, from their perspective, backs up their claims. The truth is that all four of the currently FDA-approved implant manufacturers make good products, and the differences between them are, with some exceptions, fairly subtle. Competition between implant makers has been a very good thing for the consumer, as each company strives to develop manufacturing advances and new implant features – including completely new implant designs – that provide products that are both safer and more natural appearing.
Some plastic surgeons are loyal to a single implant manufacturer. That loyalty may be because a surgeon thinks a certain company’s implants are the best, or it may be simply a matter of convenience (it’s a lot less work dealing with just one company, and it certainly requires a lot less storage), or it may even be motivated by the availability of cash rebates to the practice for using a large volume of implants. The major downside of working with just one company – and it’s a huge downside – is that it limits your implant selection options.
No single implant maker has an implant available for every possible combination of implant volume, base diameter and projection. So if the goal of a surgeon is to provide each patient with a completely customized implant selection, then one must work with all three companies that manufacture both silicone gel and conventional saline implants (Allergan, Mentor and Sientra), and the newest company to market which manufactures ‘structured’ (multi-chamber) saline implants (Ideal Implant). The great advantage of working with all of the FDA-approved breast implant companies is that it enables a surgeon to provide patients with the widest range of implant options.
Sientra and Ideal Implant stand out from the other two breast implant manufacturers in one very significant way: they sell their implants exclusively to board-certified plastic surgeons. The leaders of these two companies are so committed to producing the best possible outcomes for breast augmentation patients that they will only allow their products to be placed by physicians who have completed plastic surgery residency.
In an era where ER docs, family physicians and oral surgeons (among others – and no, I am not making this up, search it online) are offering breast augmentation, Sientra and Ideal Implant are the only two companies that have taken a stand on the issue of which physicians are qualified to use their products. This commitment is respected and appreciated by all residency-trained and board-certified plastic surgeons, and should serve as a bold statement to the consumer that Sientra and Ideal Implant put excellent breast augmentation results ahead of corporate profits.
In my practice I use implants made by all four U.S. breast implant manufacturers. The implant selection is based on biodimensional planning (using measurements made during patient examination), the patient’s lifestyle and activity demands, and the specific aesthetic outcome that each patient wishes to achieve. For any given patient, there is a limited range of implant sizes and profiles that will produce a natural-appearing breast enhancement. In working with all four breast implant manufacturers, I have more options available for each patient.
The bottom line: you can potentially get a great result with breast implants made by any of these four companies. It is really a matter of sorting out, ideally with the guidance of a board-certified plastic surgeon who has a working relationship with all four implant companies, which particular implant type, size and profile is the best choice for your individual needs.