At Plastic Surgery Center of Hampton Roads, you’ll find board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Lofgren to be professional, experienced, and compassionate. A New York native, Dr. Lofgren has been in the Virginia area for over 20 years. He specializes in cosmetic surgery, focusing primarily on breast and bodywork. In a recent interview, he spoke with us about his breast augmentation process, silent rupture, and the new IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implants.
Why should patients choose your practice over others in the area?
“When a person is looking for a practice to go to and they’re considering having any type of breast surgery done, I think it’s important to make sure that they go to an accredited facility. They should look for plastic surgeons that are board certified. They should also be sure that the practice they’re looking into has a wide variety of experiences in dealing with the specific type of surgery they’re seeking. We’re fortunate in our practice that we have a quad-ASF certified facility. All of our surgeons are board certified and we do extensive breast and bodywork here.”
How do you guide women through the breast augmentation process?
“When we have a patient first come to us considering breast augmentation, we try to break down all the components that are important in making that decision. The first is, how are we going to place the implant? Where will the incision be? There’s a wide variety of ways to do that. We can make inframammary incisions, where we place the incisions underneath the breast, we can go with a transaxillary incision in the armpit, or we can make an incision around the areola or even through the belly button. Secondly, we look at exactly where we are going to place the implant. We decide if it’s going to be under just the breast tissue itself, or actually under the muscle, which is more common these days.
“We also look at the type of implant that’s going to be used for the breast augmentation. We used to be quite limited in that, with a traditional saline implant or a silicone gel implant as the only options, but thankfully now we have the IDEAL IMPLANT that offers a lot of tremendous advantages. Finally, we’ll talk about the overall size and type of look that the patient’s going for. That’s where we really get involved with the patient and help them determine what is going to fit their body the best and get them the results that they really desire.”
In your years of practice, have you noticed any trends over time in terms of breast implant size?
“In breast augmentation surgery, I think a lot of it is regionally dependent. I’m originally from the Northeast, where I tended to see much smaller breast augmentations, much more of a natural look. I did my training in Miami, Florida, and down there the overall size was a bit bigger than we see on a daily basis. And then here in the Mid-Atlantic, I think we fall somewhere right in the middle. Most women want an average size in the upper 300s to low 400 range, and I think that size still gives a very nice, more natural look.”
How did you hear about the IDEAL IMPLANT and when did you start using it in your practice?
“We had the opportunity to learn about the IDEAL IMPLANT very early. We started to hear rumors about the implant soon after it was developed, and we actually sought out the implant and did some research to find out more about it. Very quickly we saw the advantages of it, and we contacted the company. They had one of their sales reps come to us and spend some time with us, and so we’ve been offering the IDEAL IMPLANT as an option to our patients for a few years. It’s worked out tremendously for us.”
What are the advantages of the IDEAL IMPLANT to both the patient and the surgeon?
“The first advantage is the feel of the implant. Its overall feel is much improved compared to a traditional saline implant. I think that also translates into the appearance of the implant in the body. You see much less rippling, and you get a much more natural feel. I think the higher fill volume that’s achievable with the IDEAL IMPLANT also gives women a much nicer, fuller appearance. And then most importantly, when women select a structured saline implant over a silicone gel implant, it alleviates a lot of the fears they have about the risks of silent rupture, and having to perform routine monitoring of the implants and eventual replacement or removal.”
Are your patients satisfied with the IDEAL IMPLANT?
“When it comes to our satisfaction rates with IDEAL IMPLANT, I think it’s well above what our normal satisfaction rates are with other implants. I’ve found personally in my practice that I have much fewer women who complain about either visible or palpable rippling of the IDEAL IMPLANT. Years after women have breast augmentation surgery, they don’t have to worry about checking the implants or deal with the hassle of obtaining MRIs. That just makes for a more happy, satisfied patient in general.”
Complications are inherent to any surgery and breast surgeries have their sets. What has been your experience in complications with the IDEAL IMPLANT?
“When it comes to complication rates and the IDEAL IMPLANT specifically, in my practice I’ve seen a significant decrease in the rates of capsular contracture. As far as rupture is concerned, I think it’s also less than our traditional saline implants that we had used previously. And when compared to silicone gel implants such as the gummy bears or the anatomically shaped implants, we don’t run into the problems with malposition and shape issues that we had with those implants. Overall, I think the IDEAL IMPLANT has the least complications out of any of the implants that we currently use today.”
How do you educate your patients about the realities of silent rupture?
“When it comes to silent rupture in breast implants, I think that a lot of women are inherently concerned about it. Here at the practice we have a typical cohesive silicone gel implant that we’ve intentionally ruptured that we keep in a plastic bag to show patients what it’s going to look like in their body if their implant has a silent rupture. And honestly, even though it’s a cohesive silicone gel implant, it’s still just a gooey mess! People are absolutely amazed that that would be in their body. With the rates of silent rupture in silicone gel implants as high as they are, (and in my own practice I was quite surprised to find that there’s more silent ruptures than even I had suspected), the IDEAL IMPLANT is a great option for patients to alleviate that fear.”
What is it like to clean up a silent rupture?
“It depends on the generation of the implant. There are several different generations of silicone gel implants. Some have a more cohesive gel than others. I’ve found personally that when I have to go in and remove an early generation silicone gel implant, (or a non-cohesive gel implant), the tissue reaction can be profound. Cleaning out one of those pockets often requires complete capsulectomies. Quite extensive surgery. When it comes to the later generation silicone gel implants, even though they are a cohesive gel and the majority of the implant stays together, there is still significant leakage within the pocket that does require significant work to remove it, just not quite as much as the earlier implants.”
What is surgery like if an IDEAL IMPLANT ruptures?
“In the event of a rupture with IDEAL IMPLANT, it has several advantages over older silicone gel implants. The ability to detect the rupture is much easier. It’s just a simple change in shape or overall fullness of the breast, and you know quite readily that that implant has a problem with the shell. And as far as repairing it or managing that issue, it’s extremely easy. It’s just a simple 20 minute surgery to basically go in, remove the shell, place a new implant, refill it and close the incision. It’s much less invasive, much faster recovery, and much less of a headache compared to a traditional silicone gel implant.”
Are more women asking about IDEAL IMPLANT than just a few years ago?
“In my practice here, we’re very excited to have the IDEAL IMPLANT as an option for our patients. I think we’re truly at the cusp of seeing it absolutely explode as far as popularity is concerned. People are starting to come in asking for it by name. When women understand the inherent benefits of it and the decreased risks, the decreased rupture rates, the decreased risks of capsular contracture, and just the overall peace of mind, the implant really speaks for itself. I think we’re really at the very early stages of that. I know in my personal business, I’ve gone from doing 80% silicone gel implants now to doing about 35% silicone gel implants with almost all of that being a change into the IDEAL IMPLANT market.”
No other breast implant company besides Ideal Implant Incorporated can manufacture or sell the IDEAL IMPLANT. What has been your experience working with them?
“In looking at the company overall, they’re incredibly responsive to the individual surgeons and their patients. They’ve been very receptive to ideas as far as improving the implant and making adjustments to things. Just as an example, the enhancement of the warranty that’s now available with the implant is tremendous. We’ve actually gone so far as to package that as part of our normal breast augmentation package. It gives women an added reason to really trust in their product, something that’s going to be in their body for many years and it gives them that extra little bit of satisfaction and peace of mind.”
Any other thoughts about the IDEAL IMPLANT?
“The IDEAL IMPLANT is fantastic. Once I express to my patients the different characteristics of the implant and the natural advantages that it has over some of the other implants, women just naturally recognize it as the great choice that it is. I don’t think that there’s anything specific about the other implants that necessarily make them bad, it’s just that the advantages of the IDEAL IMPLANT are really head and shoulders above some of the other choices that are available.”
Considering Virginia breast implants? Contact Dr. Lofgren today to discuss your options. Simply call 757-873-3500 or visit www.PSCHR.com. Dr. Lofgren’s office is located at 895 City Center Boulevard Suite 300 Newport News, VA 23606. Call today for more information on IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implants.