The latest trend in Australia, in the breast implant industry, are the unusually named Brazilian or “Silimed” implants.So what are they, and will they be a passing fad, or a lasting breakthrough in breast augmentations?
Australia has recently approved these implants after extensive testing overseas, where they have been around for the past 30 years.
So why are they so different? They’re covered in a layer of polyurethane-foam that creates a ‘furry’ feel to the outer shell. It is supposed to feel like suede or fur which is why they are often referred to as “furry Brazilian implants”.
The outer shell, reportedly reduces the risk of Capsular Contracture, which is a risk that every woman considering breast surgery should be aware of.
Firstly, what is Capsular Contracture? Well, our bodies have a natural defense against any ‘foreign object’ that we take into our body. Our bodies try to create a capsule (or lining) of tissue to wrap around the implant and keep it away from “us”. With breast implants this is normal until it begins to tighten or become smaller than the implant.
It can become constrictive around the implant and “squeeze” it into a deformed shape, leaving the breast looking either like a tight tennis ball or an unusual, deformed, shape. It can happen soon after surgery or years down the track. It is believed that infection or contamination may be a trigger.
These ‘furry brazilian implants’ cause a different reaction, instead of one large capsule forming , many ‘micro capsules’ form. This means that it doesn’t contract like a tight bag around the implant.
Studies have shown that in a first time breast augmentation, the chance of capsular contracture (CC) is around 17% over the first 7 years.
Studies into Brazilian silimed implants suggest a rate as low as 1% over 15 years- (the range being 0-9% in different studies) which is a significant reduction- one that makes these implants very attractive! This could mean less ‘re-dos’ over the span of a normal woman’s life, an exciting prospect, for sure.
So how do they work?
They use a shell that adheres to the body’s natural tissue, made from polyurethane foam. It has a special circular pattern that prevents the formation of the large ‘capsule’.
The shell also resists the ‘squeezing’ affect much better than a normal ‘thin shelled’ implant due to its thicker surface. They are filled with the same cohesive gel that all silicone implants use in Australia.
One of the potential concerns, is that the coating may have carcinogenic properties (may cause cancer).
Implants using this polyurethane coating were pulled from the market internationally in the...
This polyurethane foam surface has been used for years in other medical devices, such as pacemakers and blood vessel grafts, and it is believed that the risk of adverse affects from the materials used (such as cancer) are negligible, however it is something that will no doubt be considered by women who decide to use them.
So what do they feel like?
If you were to hold one in your hand it would resemble fur or a suede material, but once inside your body they start off by feeling firmer than a regular silicone implant. This can last longer than the normal ‘softening’ process of a regular implant. The idea is that they start out firmer but end up being softer than other options in the end.
One of the big issues with these implants is that they don’t move once they are implanted. Normally an implant will “Drop and fluff”, a process where they start off high and tight, compressed by the pectoral muscle. As the muscle relaxes and the stretches the implant moves into the proper position. It looks from the outside like it is ‘dropping’ down.
Because the silimed brazilian implants act more like velcro, adhering to the chest wall, the surgeon does not have the same room for error. They have to be positioned exactly right the first time.
They do still ‘fluff’, meaning that the initial shape will change as the muscle relaxes, and they will look better as the swelling, bruising and ‘fluffing’ occurs.
One of the main benefits is actually the use of “anatomical” shaped Brazilian Silimed implants. These anatomical implants are designed to have a more natural tear dropped shape, however are not as widely used as the round shape due to the risk that they can ‘rotate’ or turn sideways once implanted. Usually they are made from textured shelled implants to prevent this from happening. The polyurethane ‘velcro’ effect virtually removes this risk.
Another possible risk with implants is ‘bottoming out’ but due to the nature of the silimed implants this is less likely to happen.
They have been trialed in Australia for 3 years, and available to the general public, for 2yrs. Some surgeon’s are so happy with them that they use them exclusively, others are still sceptical about the safety of the polyurethane coating.
The US has not yet approved the use of them.
So, it will be interesting to see whether they become the future of implants in Australia or if they will become just another confusing option in the breast implant checklist.