With a practice that is about 50% breast surgery, we are well-versed on the current trends in breast augmentation. Here are some of the patterns that we’ve noted.
1. Return of silicone gel: Three years ago, 90% of the implants we used were saline-filled. With the FDA re-approval of silicone gel breast implants, we’ve been offering our patients a choice of saline or silicone gel. Now, easily 75% of the implants that the patients want are silicone gel ones, due to their “more natural” feel and their lower rate of post-operative rippling in slender patients. The remaining 25% of our patients select saline implants due to their adjustability, their lower cost, or their desire to avoid anxieties about silicone gel altogether.
2. Credit crunch: Prior to September 2008, many younger patients were using third party financing to pay for their surgery. With the meltdown in the credit markets, these loans are more difficult to get, especially for people with marginal credit. Some are taking advantage of our cash-only discounts, but many are holding off on surgery for the moment.
3. Lack of interest in the “gummy bear” implants: Despite the buzz in the American plastic surgery societies about the impending FDA approval of form-stable silicone gel implants (commonly known as “gummy bears” due to their thick gel formulation) patients seem unimpressed. Once I describe the significantly bigger surgical incision required for their placement, patients seem to rule out that choice, despite their potential advantages. Our patients also don’t seem to care for the tear-drop shape, either – the majority of our patients specifically ask for some fullness in the upper portion of the breast. This reflects the American sensibility for breast shape, which interestingly, is different than what is popular in Europe or South America. (More on than later!!)