Breast Implant Primer – Manufacturers
Published on January 10, 2018 by Andrew Barnett
In my last blog about breast implants, I provided a brief overview of implant options. In this blog, I’ll discuss the Manufacturers.
As of 2017, there were three major manufacturers of breast implants. Breast implants are controlled by the FDA, just like drugs, and all manufacturers must follow very strict guidelines and practices to be allowed to manufacture and sell breast implants. It is not legal to use implants from non-FDA approved companies, and there must be a “chain of possession” between the manufacturer and the doctor. Surgeons are not permitted to use implants provided by overseas companies, or to use implants provided to the surgeon by the patient.
All three manufacturers, Allergan, Mentor, and Sientra are large, publicly traded companies. That’s important to you as a consumer, because they have the resources to test and produce high quality products. I work with all three manufacturers, and since I’ve been doing breast augmentation for quite awhile, I have excellent relationships with senior people at all three. This is helpful when there are implant shortages, or when new products with limited availability, are offered. I’ve also done research with these manufacturers.
Breast implants are mature products. They’ve been around for over 50 years, and while there are small differences in the offerings from the different manufacturers, the differences are minor. One manufacturer has no major advantage over the other. Their prices are also very competitive. All manufacturers offer warranties on their implants – the warranties change frequently – but because of the competitive nature of the business, the differences are marginal. You can review the warranties on the individual manufacturer’s website. While warranties change, the warranty in place when you have your surgery is the warranty that the manufacturer is bound by.
Major improvements in implant technology have occurred over the years and these same improvements, with subtle differences, have been adopted by all three manufacturers. At any given time, one manufacturer’s latest upgrade may give it a temporary advantage, but its’ generally short lived.
Take Away Message
No single manufacturer stands out above the others. That said, the subtle differences between the implants may affect you due to your particular needs. The best breast implant surgeons will choose the implant that is correct for you and go to the manufacturer that makes that implant!
In the next blog I’ll discuss the important subtle differences!