I caught up with Dr Niamh Corduff at the recent 40th Annual ASAPS conference to chat about a really important topic – Why researching your brand of implants is important. Too many women just have no idea of what they’re putting into their bodies and it’s time there was a greater level of awareness. Watch the video here.
Why should women know or research which brand of implant they choose?
Dr Niamh Corduff: There’s a lot out there. There’s a lot of science now coming out behind implants and I do think patients now research everything they do about their surgery and it’s important that they … I think it’s good thing that you actually read and have a bit of knowledge before you go in and you see your surgeon so you can have a feeling as to why he’s pushing you towards one implant over another, why he’s suggesting this will be best for you. You need to have some understanding to have that discussion.
What is a biocompatible implant and why is it important?
Biocompatibility – it’s one of those scientific words. Let’s try and sort of bring it down to simplicity. It’s basically, biocompatible, it’s the Holy Grail of all prosthetics, heart valves, new hips, new knees. What you want to do is you have something foreign that’s replacing something that’s falling apart in your body, so you want this replacement part to go in and you want your body to say, “Hi. Come on in. Just sit alongside me. I don’t see you as foreign. You can sit quietly next to me.” Whereas, at the moment, what happens we see something foreign on our body and our body goes, “Whoa,” wraps it on scar tissue and seals it away and gets we call an inflammatory response and that gives us all sorts of trouble down the track. The whole of the biotechnology industry in medicine is trying to get something that is foreign that our body is very comfortable to live next door to.
What is the difference between Motiva Progressive Gel Plus and Motiva Ergonomix Breast Implants?
It’s basically about the gel and so, the gel that’s going to sort of sit a little bit more firmly is Progressive Gel Plus, so it’s going to have a rounder shape. There are some women who like that full rounder shape whereas, there’s other women who like a very natural-looking breasts, so the Ergonomix is a dynamic gel. It changes shape as you move, just like a breast does. If you lie on your side, everything flops to your side. The gel will flop to the side with your breast instead of sitting up like a pyramid so you know the girls on the beach and that, dung, so the Ergonomix, it softens and it flows and it looks a lot more natural.
Does “texturing”, “smooth”, or “foam covered” help reduce complications with breast implants or is there another way to think about it?
That is a huge area of discussion at this conference, a huge area of research and there’s still a lot we don’t quite know but yes, smooth … Going right back in the ‘60s, we have always had problems with contracture and hardening around implants. That’s capsular contracture. Capsule is normal, all right? That’s what the body does. It says, “Oh, you’re not meant to be here,” wraps it up so it doesn’t cause any problems. It’s a natural thing but when that capsule gets out of hand and gets thicker and harder and start to contract down, it’s going to feel tight and change the shape and get uncomfortable. That’s a contracture. We don’t want that because that means more surgery. Yes, the texturing implants was found to break up the direction and how much contracture you got so, yes, your capsule was still there but it wasn’t as troublesome.
However, the texturing and the aggressive texturing that did that also starts to develop other problems that we’re seeing. So, we have seromas and double capsules and all sorts of irritations from the inflammation associated with it. Now, Motiva, are sort of like looking at a different technology, again, going back to that biocompatibility, which cells like, so the cells … With this surface and there’s been that hell of a lot of research going into it, is to what surface do cells feel comfortable on, so it’s heading more towards that biocompatibility. We are preventing the inflammation and preventing the capsule actually forming. Well, we are getting a capsule but it’s not as nasty a capsule.
Do some types of breast implants have a higher risk of complications such as cancer and can a nano surfaced implant reduce the risk and why?
All implants have problems. We just haven’t got the perfect implant. We’re still very much on a learning curve from surgeons and from industry. We have to work together. We know there’s a lot of how we behave as surgeons influences the complication rate. Number one, our basic infection control, our planning. Our planning has these years and years and years of training goes into making the right decision. The core studies that were done in the U.S. for the FDA showed a ridiculously high incidence of reoperation rate because the decision-making was wrong. That was all that was wrong and so, it’s part of the problem, that initial discussion and experience of the surgeon plus the patient’s wants. Sometimes, you just have to say, “You can’t have that because it’s going to be a nightmare to manage because your body’s not going to take what you want. You have to modify your wishes.”
A lot of dialogue goes in at the start and that comes down to training is very important. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there who just say, “Yeah, I can do the operation.” The operation itself is technical but it’s the decision-making and when you do what is the hard bit, so that’s the surgical thing. That’s where people come unstuck because they go to it somewhere that’s cheaper that isn’t paying for 15 years of training. They’re just going to six months to the States and doing a quick course and they’re saying, “Yeah. Well, I can do the operation.”
Sure, and it’s going to be cheap because you’re not paying for that training but the results aren’t going to be as good and they have a lot more problems. It is about decision-making. It’s about training and expertise. That’s the surgeon’s part and infection control and then we have the technology of the implant too. There’s two arms to it in getting the best technology and implant and the most up-to-date research in your device is important. Yeah.
What advice can you give to women considering breast surgery?
Yes. Do your research. There’s nothing wrong with that but please don’t let money be a driver, okay? I’m always getting two to three phone calls a week from people who have gone to the cheaper option and come back and they’ve got problems. You pay for what you get in this world and if you want an outcome, sure, you’re going to get your breast implants if you go cheap and cheerful. What’s going to happen in five years’ time? I’ll tell you something. You’re going to have to have further surgery. Your complication rate long term is going to be up there and this is what, about the decision-making right from the get-go, has to be right because if you get it right from the start, you can go for years without a problem but if you get it wrong, you initially look great but then you do get problems.
Going to somebody who’s got a lot of training and expertise is important, so somebody who’s got a surgical fellowship, number one, who’s been accredited by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, number two, who is member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeon and the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Those are the things you look for because those are the guys who actually are specialists in plastic surgery.