Injections of silicone into breast tissue to enhance the size and shape has been around for almost 100 years. Soon after its inception the myriad of problems associated with silicone in the soft tissues revealed themselves and the injection of significant volumes of the substance was banned along with the other “revolutionary” injectable of the day- paraffin. Early in the 1960’s silicone was resurrected in the form of silastic bags filled with the previously banned silicone gel creating the first “silicone” implants. Injection ports were added to the silastic bags and other substances were tried as the filler material leading to the saline filled implant that is so popular today. Parallel to the rapid advances in filler material manufacturers at the request of Plastic Surgeons began experimenting with more exotic fill materials, different thicknesses and texturing of the sack ultimately leading to the textures and shapes of today’s implants. Into the 1970’s the inframammary incision remained the incision of choice until the axillary incision was introduced and popularized in the 1980’s. That’s right, the mid-1980’s. Personally my first transaxillary breast augmentation was done in 1985. Normally I would not have command of events in the 1980’s, but I had the opportunity to see this patient recently in consultation for a facelift. Her transaxillary breast augmentation with saline implants was looking good at 26 years!
On occasion when reading today’s latest advertisements certain assertions stand out. Recently I was drawn to an ad about breast augmentation by a young surgeon claiming to perform all of the latest techniques including the “new” transaxillary augmentation. I guess to his target marketing audience the axillary incision may be new and unique to the young surgeon, but with a little research the truth can be uncovered. The latest or newest silicone implants are still silicone gel but improved with something called memory gel that seems to make the gel fill silicone less liquid and more discernibly shaped and coherent. This new silicone technology may or may not improve the long term results but certainly has been advertised as a breakthrough in breast implants and they absolutely charge a premium for it.
The purpose of marketing oneself as a premier breast surgeon is to separate what is offered as a Plastic Surgeon from the others doing breast enhancement. Without the marketing benefit of good credentials or a gallery of representative photos showing the quality of work performed, the only possible marketing angle available may be the assertion that one uses the newest technology not available to lesser surgeons or that one is accomplished in the newest techniques that lesser surgeons are not capable of performing. Usually these procedures are much like the previously mentioned transaxillary breast augmentation, the claim of credentials not received or expertise in operations that have been around for years may be successful marketing to a poorly informed clientele but not to prospective patients in this age and time.