Trish: I’m here today with Dr Patrick Tansley from NorthEast Plastic Surgery in Brisbane and Melbourne and we’re going to have a talk about a really hot topic today, which is polyurethane implants: the pros, if there’s any cons or anything like that. Thank you so much for taking the time for us today.

Patrick: Pleasure.

Trish: Why polyurethane implants compared to smooth or textured?

Patrick: It’s really an issue of safety, Trish. Once an implant is placed into the body, any implant, a capsule forms around it which is almost like a shrink-wrap, it’s like a structure. And the risk of that contracting in the long-term is conservatively much higher with smooth or textured silicone implants in comparison with foam covered implants. In fact historically the way textured implants were first generated was as a negative implant of the polyurethane covering. That’s very interesting. In the long-term data shows that about 10 to 20 percent of those capsules will go on to cause a capsular contracture in the smooth and textured silicone implants. That compares with around as low as 1 percent in the polyurethane foam covering, so the benefits to a patient are profound in having polyurethane foam covered implants in comparison with smooth or textured silicone implants.

Trish: Okay. How does the body react to the foam covering?

Patrick: It becomes integrated into the capsule which I was telling you about, and that’s very important because the histological make-up of the capsule in the polyurethane foam implants is of a more random pattern rather than a linear pattern in the smooth or textured. That random pattern makes it much less likely for the capsule to contract, therefore giving the clinical benefits which I relayed to you.

Trish: Okay, so with the polyurethane implants, do you have to replace them after 10 years? There’s conflicting stories that you do have to replace them after 10 years or you don’t. What’s the go with that?

Patrick: There is no good data to suggest a definitive time at which implants should be replaced. They’re usually replaced for problems associated with implants such as the problem with capsular contracture, which is the commonest implant related problem. That typically occurs far more frequently with smooth or textured silicone implants than it does on polyurethane foam covered. So it really depends on whether or not there are complications. The important thing to remember is that smooth or textured have capsular contracture up to 20 percent, whereas the polyurethane foam are as low as 1 percent, so the chances of having a contracture that requires secondary intervention are much lower with the polyurethane foam covered implant.

Trish: Okay, great, that’s really enlightening so that’s really good to know, so it’s 20 percent down to 1 percent just using polyurethane. Fantastic. Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today.

Patrick: My pleasure.

Trish: So if you’d like to find out a bit more about Dr Tansley, who practices in Brisbane and also in Melbourne, just drop us an e-mail at Thank you.


Trish is a plastic surgery blogger. She is passionate about wellbeing, health and beauty, and doesn't mind a little bit of 'help' from the amazing cosmetic and beauty procedures that are available today. Trish spends her days talking to women and men who are looking for suggestions and advice on procedures that are available to them. Cutting through the sales pitch and hype, a down-to-earth response on general information is what you will get.

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