The In Vivo Pericapsular Tissue Response to Modern Polyurethane Breast Implants

James Frame, Dia Kamel, Marcelo Olivan, Henrique Cintra
Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2015, 39 (5): 713-23

UNLABELLED: Polyurethane breast implants were first introduced by Ashley (Plast Reconstr Surg 45:421-424, 1970), with the intention of trying to reduce the high incidence of capsular contracture associated with smooth shelled, high gel bleed, silicone breast implants. The sterilization of the polyurethane foam in the early days was questionable. More recently, ethylene oxide (ETO)-sterilized polyurethane has been used in the manufacturing process and this has been shown to reduce the incidence of biofilm. The improved method of attachment of polyurethane onto the underlying high cohesive gel, barrier shell layered, silicone breast implants also encourages bio-integration. Polyurethane covered, cohesive gel, silicone implants have also been shown to reduce the incidence of other problems commonly associated with smooth or textured silicone implants, especially with reference to displacement, capsular contracture, seroma, reoperation, biofilm and implant rupture. Since the introduction of the conical polyurethane implant (Silimed, Brazil) into the United Kingdom in 2009 (Eurosurgical, UK), we have had the opportunity to review histology taken from the capsules of polyurethane implants in three women ranging from a few months to over 3 years after implantation. All implants had been inserted into virgin subfascial, extra-pectoral planes. The results add to the important previously described histological findings of Bassetto et al. (Aesthet Plast Surg 34:481-485, 2010). Five distinct layers are identified and reasons for the development of each layer are discussed. Breast capsule around polyurethane implants, in situ for fifteen and 20 years, has recently been obtained and analysed in Brazil, and the histology has been incorporated into this study. After 20 years, the polyurethane is almost undetectable and capsular contracture may appear. These findings contribute to our understanding of polyurethane implant safety, and give reasoning for a significant reduction in clinical capsular contracture rate, up to 10 years after implantation, compared to contemporary silicone implants. A more permanent matrix equivalent to polyurethane may be the solution for reducing long-term capsular contracture.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE V: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors .

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