FDA Approves New Shaped Breast Implant

I recently blogged about the various silicone implants available in the US and my blog post is already out of date!  In my post in December about silicone implants, we discussed the cohesiveness of the newest shaped breast implants – meaning, how cohesive the silicone inside the implant is and how that leads to safer, more form-stable implants that have a very low rate of leakage.  The more cohesive, the more they’re like a gel (or a gummy bear) rather than a liquid and therefore, less likely to “spill” into the surrounding breast tissue.


Since that blog post, Allergan has released their new Natrelle® 410 shaped breast implant. The release of this shaped breast implant, which gives a teardrop or more natural shape to the breast, is Allergan’s answer to Sientra, the company that won approval from the FDA last March for a similar type of shaped implant. These shaped breast implants give patients and plastic surgeons greater choice in the type of implant they use. Prior to Sientra and Allergan’s approval for shaped breast implants, the only silicone implant available in the US was the standard round implant. So why would you want a round over a shaped implant or vice versa?


Round vs Shaped Breast Implant


The type of implant you choose is based partially on what you want but also what you’re a candidate for. If you want a full breast that has fullness in the upper part of the breast, then a round implant is for you. If you’re looking for a very natural breast that fills in your current breast tissue but isn’t too showy, then a shaped implant will meet your needs.  As with many things in life, it’s not only what you want but what’s right for you. If you have very droopy breasts, called ptosis (pronounced tow-sis), then you aren’t a candidate for shaped implants. You probably will require a breast lift procedure (removing excess skin) in combination with a round implant. If you have a slight amount of ptosis, a shaped implant may be all you need. Your board certified plastic surgeon can help you decide.


Now that Sientra and Allergan have released their shaped implants with the more cohesive gel, there’s the inevitable trash talking.  Both of these shaped breast implants have cohesive gel that minimizes the risk of silicone spillage in the case of an implant rupture but Allergan suggests that their silicone is more cohesive. See this picture below from the Allergan website:


FDA approves new shaped breast implant
Allergan shaped implant on the left, Sientra shaped implant on the right.


If you notice, the Allergan Natrelle® shaped implant “stands up” straighter than the Sientra implant. But does it matter? Well, even Allergan has to admit they’re not sure it matters. Look at the small print under the two implants – “In vivo significance has not been established”! In other words, the implants may look a little different when set on their side but does the slight ripple in the Sientra implant make any difference “in vivo” (in the breast tissue)? Maybe time will tell, maybe not. But speak with your plastic surgeon and they can help you navigate through this maze of more choices in breast implants.


Which do you prefer – a round or shaped breast implant? If you’re interested, you can read my previous post on this topic here.



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