A ^Retired Plastic Surgeon's Notebook

Anatomical versus Round Implants: The study that could never be done was done.

Can’t tell which side is anatomic and which side is round? Neither can I!

I think the anatomic implants vs. round implants smack down may finally be over.  As those who read my blog know, I am not a huge fan of anatomic implants although I have tried really, really hard to learn to love them over many, many years.  Anatomic implants are presented as the best thing since microwave nachos and those of us who keep going back to round implants are sometimes dismissed as Luddites.  Anatomic implants are pushed by industry paid “experts” who make the rounds at meetings and extol the wonder of these more-expensive-and-more-complicated-than-round implants.  And patients ask for these anatomic implants being lead to believe that they will look more natural.  

A few years ago, evidence started trickling in that anatomic implants actually did not have  advantages over round implants in standard breast augmentation in anatomically normal women. There were studies where before and after photos were shown to expert plastic surgeons and they could not tell which patients had which implants.  I was present at one of these sessions where a panel of experts did no better than a coin toss.  But the study that nobody thought could be done – put an anatomic in one side and a round in the other side on the same patient – has been done!  No patient would sign up for having two differently shaped implants used for her augmentation and no institutional review board would approve such a study.  But some very clever surgeons did this study in 75 volunteers.   Their average age was 39 and their average BMI was 20 (this, by the way, is quite thin).  The surgeons took the patients to the OR and put a round implant in one side and a comparably sized anatomic implant in the other side and then took standardized photographs.  They then removed the anatomic implant and replaced it with a round implant to match the other side.  The standardized photographs were shown to a panel of experts.  Even the panel of experts could not tell the round vs. the anatomic when presented with these side by side breast implants!

I really take my hat off to the Drs. Hidalgo and Weinstein for doing this study.  It is this sort of research that helps us make decisions based on reality rather than the latest hype from an industry hired gun.  

Intraoperative Comparison of Anatomical versus Round Implants in Breast Augmentation:  A Randomized Controlled Trial.  Hidalgo, David A. M.D.: Weinstein, Andrew L. M.S., Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery:  March 2017, Pages 587-596.

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder




Category: Breast Contouring, Breast Implants, New Technology | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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