The IDEAL IMPLANT is a new, innovative breast implant option that offers the benefits, without the drawbacks, of both traditional saline and silicone gel implants. Dr. Benjamin Gelfant is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Vancouver, BC, who is part of an exclusive group of surgeons eligible to offer the IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implant to their patients. During a recent interview, Dr. Gelfant discussed how he helps women decide between these three breast implant options.
Describe your work experience as a plastic surgeon.
“I started in practice in 1989, shortly before the moratorium silicone gel implants came into place in April of 1992, although I had a brief experience with polyurethane foam covered textured implants in 1990-91. So, from ‘92 until 2006, with very limited exceptions, my practice was exclusively saline filled breast implants and I was one of the first, and certainly the most prominent person, to use transaxillary endoscopic approach to breast augmentation, which became a very big part of my practice success. When silicone gel implants came back onto the market, it was clear that, except with using small implants, transaxillary augmentation was not going to be a viable approach, so I went back to using inframammary incisions for the next few years until the advent of the Keller Funnel.
“And so what became apparent to me in my discussions with patients was that I had probably in the range of 1,500-2,000 patients with saline filled implants from the era of 1992 forward, and if saline implants were so unsatisfactory, then why would all those patients be coming back to have their implants exchanged. Whereas my actual experience was people were coming back occasionally for check ups, 5, 10, 12, 13 years after augmentation, with actually excellent results long-term and extremely low rates of capsular contractures, well under 1% and the high rates of complete non-concern. So that was the thing, they had the peace of mind that what I do refers to in their marketing materials.”
How do you help your patients choose between the different types of breast implants?
“My responsibility, as a doctor, is to give patients treatment options, including no treatments, and that’s what I’ve done. I’ve always said to patients, ‘Here’s what you’ve got available to you. Here are the pros and cons of each of them. It’s your choice.’ My role has been to be a learned intermediary, in other words, to learn and to nurture, to have my own experience and to present the patients with the information that they need in order to make an intelligent decision. That seems to work for the kind of patients that I want to have. There’s a large standard deducing of, ‘Leave it to me, I’m the doctor; trust me, I’m the doctor.’ That just doesn’t fly with a lot of women. It doesn’t fly in society in general. As we know in many sectors of society, a lot of people have a lot of catching up to do.”
How have your patients responded to the IDEAL IMPLANT?
“We figured we would capture almost all of the saline market and maybe a nibble of the last part of the silicone gel market, and that’s really happened. I get a lot of patients who come in here and they look at all the different options and say, ‘I like that one, I like the new one.’ It’s been very favorably received.”
For your patients that choose silicone gel breast implants, what are their main reasons?
“Patients are subject to peer influence and say, ‘My girlfriend got these.’ They come in asking for ‘gummy bear’ implants and they’re confused about that. They think that silicone gel is ‘gummy bear’ and the Gans Marketing term of cohesive gel. Well, they’re all gels. It all comes from the same company in California and is sold in different implant companies. They all manufacture silicone gel, and they buy it and use it. So, there are a significant number of patients that want what their girlfriends have. If I see a patient who’s got a generous amount of breast tissue to begin with, yet she’s got a drooping breast, then she has got to have a breast lift. It doesn’t matter what implants she has put in. They’re going to feel fine, as long as they don’t get a contracture. So, I don’t try to convince those patients that saline implants are better. It’s up to them to make a decision. But I make a strong point to them that maybe you don’t want to monitor your implants long-term with either MRI’s or ultrasounds. From there on, it’s up to them.”
How do you help reduce the rate of capsular contracture among your patients?
“I do all my implants under the muscle. I have since 1997. It’s the only effective means that we have of reducing capsular contracture. From the time I went to strictly submuscular, my contracture rate has plunged to less than 1%. I had a bit of a run of contractures in 2017, certainly nothing like what they were subglandular. I changed a little bit in my protocol, and it’s dropped back off again. I think so much goes into the way we go until we get something that doesn’t develop contractures.”
Considering breast implants in Vancouver? Contact Dr. Benjamin Gelfant today to discuss your options. Simply call 604-874-2078 or visit www.drgelfant.com. Dr. Gelfant’s office is located at 1333 West Broadway #100, Vancouver, BC, V6H 4C1 Canada. Call today for more information on IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implants.