What makes IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implants different from traditional saline or silicone gel implants? Dr. Paul Leahy, a board-certified plastic surgeon located in Kansas City, KS, discussed these three options and more about the breast augmentation process in a recent interview.
Describe your practice and what procedures you offer?
“I am one of currently five plastic surgeons in our group here in Leawood, Kansas, called Monarch Plastic Surgery. It has a lot of history to it. It’s been around for coming up on 25 years. Some of the core members are still part of our practice, so I really enjoy being able to walk down the hallway and say to one of my partners, ‘Hey, look at this case. What do you think about this?’ I can bounce ideas off them, and we really enjoy the collegial atmosphere that we have at Monarch.
“We have a full service range of things that we do, ranging from breast surgery of all kinds. We do a lot of breast cancer reconstruction in our practice, which helps me get a lot of experience using different kinds of breast implants. We do a lot of breast reduction surgery, and certainly a lot of cosmetic breast surgery as well. That’s where my focus is. I’d say the biggest focus in my practice is any kind of breast surgery involving plastic surgery. I really enjoy the cosmetic component but also the reconstructive breast surgery that we do for people that have had breast disease.”
What can your patients expect throughout the breast augmentation process?
“We have several choices and decisions to make together as a team. There are a few things you have to decide as a patient, and first is what incision you’d like to use. The most common incision is directly underneath the breasts in the crease there. It seems very reproducible and controllable, as opposed to, for example, going around the nipple or in the armpit. I usually highly direct patients to that incision. I think it works well.
“Then we have to decide if we should go above the muscle or underneath the muscle in the chest. I think the vast majority of people, at least in our practice here in Kansas City and the midwest area, are going underneath the muscle. There are a couple of situations in which going above the muscle might be useful. But by in large, I think for most people, the implants tend to do a little bit better and look a little more natural underneath the muscle. I present things that way, and then we can make a decision about that.
“Then the last choice comes down to what implant we’re going to use. I like to have a series of different companies, styles, and implants available, and just take a look. I’ll try to give you the pros and cons, and talk you through the advantages and disadvantages. We have a huge range of implants here. We take a non-padded sports bra, and play with the different sizes. I insist that they come in at least twice to do this. I don’t want them to just pick one size and that’s it. I like for them to confirm at a second appointment, after they’ve been able to think about it and bring in different clothing. I really feel strongly about doing that, and even then, it’s hard to know exactly how this is going to look. How are my clothes going to fit? What cup size am I going to be? Those are all questions that are so hard to answer. I really focus on how do you like how this looks. We put a tight fitted top on you and ask, ‘Does that look pretty to you?’ Then we just go left and right, and switch out implants, until we arrive at a size.”
What do you tell your patients about IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implants?
“I have a saline implant here, a silicone gel implant here, and then we meet in the middle with the IDEAL IMPLANT. It truly is a blend, and takes the best of both worlds. For cosmetic uses, I really like to use the saline filled implants, especially with the advantages of the IDEAL IMPLANT. It speaks tons in terms of safety. It has a documented less risk of it rupturing and less risk of a scar developing around the implant, a problem called a capsular contracture. I think the biggest selling point is the fact that if there’s a problem with it and it does leak, you know instantly. There is none of the guesswork involved in getting MRIs. Any of us that have gone and taken out ruptured silicone gel implants will tell you, it can be a mess and the silicone gel is very sticky. You have to get the scar tissue around it, and that sort of thing can lead to other sorts of issues. When you take out a saline implant that’s ruptured, it couldn’t be easier. It’s simple.
“We can use a little smaller incision to get the implant in there. And because you fill it during the surgery, you can make accommodations if someone’s left or right breast is a little bit different. Also, the IDEAL IMPLANT is really nice because if we get to surgery and the person shows up and says, ‘I’ve been thinking about it, and I think I’d like to be at the upper end of the range that we can put in the implant.’ I say, ‘Great, no problem.’ We can decide that there that day.
“So it’s come to the point where I’ve used the IDEAL IMPLANT enough and had enough exposure to it, I really think it is something women should be considering.”
What do you say to women that are concerned about how new the IDEAL IMPLANT is compared to saline implants or silicone gel implants?
“I feel really confident in offering the IDEAL IMPLANT, even though it is relatively new. I’m just beginning my 11th year of private practice, and I definitely have seen some fads or trends in plastic surgery, including in breast implant technology. Sometimes you get a new device and you think, ‘Oh, this is going to solve all the world’s problems.’ As it turns out, issues arise that we simply couldn’t have predicted until we started using them more and more. However, because the IDEAL IMPLANT is sort of an extension of things we’ve already had, just reworked and re-engineered, I don’t think we’re going to see that. I don’t anticipate big problems with the IDEAL IMPLANT, especially with the seven-year data that we’ve got so far. When people come and they look at the different implants, I like to show them what data we’ve got. The numbers don’t lie. The data really is leading us to believe that everything about the IDEAL IMPLANT is better, including its stability and durability too. I’m really excited about it. I know it’s relatively new, but it’s not like the surgical techniques are all that different. It’s really just a different device that we’re using. Looking at the data that’s already been collected, and having done some of these cases already, it’s just so smooth and slick to work with that I have no reservations about offering it at all.”
After receiving a breast augmentation, what can women anticipate afterward during recovery?
“We try to put a limit on too much strenuous activity for the first week. Little by little, we’ll give you instructions about more things that you can do. I let people shower within 24 hours and wear a sports bra day and night. I don’t like people going underwater for about three to four weeks. You can go to the gym and do light things, but just no heavy, strenuous chest exercises for about three to four weeks. I’ve found yoga to be not so good. That’s a very stretching exercise, so we limit that too.
“Most people, within a few weeks, turn a corner. They’re feeling better. When you meet people a couple of days after surgery, some people think, ‘What I have done to myself? I wasted my money. I shouldn’t have. Why did I put myself through this?’ Then we say, ‘Okay, we know. We’ve seen this. It’s normal to have a little bit of the blues.’ A little depression sets in temporarily, but by three weeks, most people turn a corner and are feeling back to their lives. If you look at the well-done studies and even some of the more recent websites where people rate their experiences with surgeries, breast augmentation is almost at the top of that list in terms of patient satisfaction.”
What advice would you give women looking for a plastic surgeon?
“When trying to choose a plastic surgeon, my advice to people is to ask their friends. Ask some friends who have had some surgery, could have been reconstructive, it could have been cosmetic. Ask your doctor – your primary doctor, your OBGYN, you name it. They are going to have some idea about the community, who people have had good outcomes with and a good rapport with.
“Do a little homework. I think the most reputable site to research doctors is the American Society of Plastic Surgery website. There’s a listing there of all the surgeons who are part of that big society. You must be board-certified to belong to it. I think as long as you’re getting someone with good training, it’s really hard to go wrong.
“Go in for a consult. I think you will get a feel right away whether or not you’re going to be a good fit. I think it’s a good idea to probably see at least two doctors. I wouldn’t go and shop 10 though. I think that’s a bad idea. I’ve been a part of people who have done that. They get so lost in the details that they can’t remember who said what and why they were going to choose or make this decision. Don’t make it too complicated. But see two doctors, and ultimately, go with your gut feeling on which doctor you feel is going to get you to where you want to be.”
What is your goal as a plastic surgeon?
“I think the key to having a good result and a good outcome, and ultimately what you really want, is a happy patient. That’s what we’re all after. It doesn’t really matter if I like a patient’s choice or not. If the person is not happy with it, then we’ve not accomplished our goal. So, I think it all starts way back in the office when we meet for the first time, and the second time. We counsel people about how this is going to go, what to expect, and what I expect, plus the research we have patients do. All of that before you’ve gone to surgery is so important.
“None of us are born exactly the same, mirror image left to right, men or women. When we’re done with this operation, we’re just basically making the breast bigger. Yes, we can try to accommodate for little differences here and there. But in the end, if you’re the type of person that’s going to take a laser pointer across your breasts and obsess about something in the mirror, this is not a good operation for you. This is not how it works. There are more broad strokes in creating curves, and more beauty in the breast in the way of sizing, shaping, and profiles, as opposed to measuring my incision and making sure it’s exactly the same as on the other side. Mother Nature does not cooperate with us as surgeons. You can be as precise as you want to, and I am. I pride myself on trying to be that, but ultimately, things are just not that way. That’s not how we heal. Having said that, the vast majority of breast augmentation patients come back very happy, once you’ve healed.”
Considering breast implants in Kansas City, KS? Contact Dr. Paul Leahy today to discuss your options. Simply call 913-663-3838 or visit www.monarchps.com. Dr. Leahy’s office is located at 4801 West 135th Street, Leawood, KS 66224. Call today for more information on IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implants.