Breast Implant Manufacturers
Currently, there are only three manufacturers of breast implants: Allergan (formerly McGhan and then Inamed), Mentor (now owned by Johnson & Johnson) and Sientra (recently approved by the FDA to sell implants in the United States – 2012). All make quality devices. The differences between the first two are minimal. I have used both with satisfaction. Currently, I am using the Allergan implants. If you have any bias about which brand implant to use, and you find a surgeon you like but he/she uses the other brand of implants, I would not let that sway you in the decision to use that surgeon; use the implant that he/she is most comfortable with and don’t worry about who manufactured it, you will do equally well with either one. As of this writing (July, 2012, I have no experience with Sientra’s devices).
All breast implants start off by either dipping a mold (called a mandrel) into silicone or spraying the mandrel with silicone. Either way, you end up with a silicone envelope with a small (about one inch) hole in it. If the implant is destined to be a saline implant, that hole is sealed with a silicone patch with a valve built into it. This valve is used to fill the implant at surgery, as all saline implants are sold deflated. If the implant is destined to be a silicone gel filled implant, the hole is patched with a round silicone patch. Next, using a special needle, the patch is punctured and a predetermined amount of silicone gel is inserted into the silicone envelope and the needle removed. The implant is either left with its smooth surface, or if a textured surface is desired, a special thin sheet of textured silicone is then bonded to the implant, giving it its textured (fuzzy) surface. The implant is then sealed into a plastic peel-pack and inserted into a box and shrink-wrapped, then sterilized prior to sale.