IDEAL Implant – Feels like silicone, safe like saline

At NSPS, we strive to stay at the forefront of cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.  In doing so, we continually look for ways to improve and provide the best patient experience.  This philosophy brought about the idea of writing this blog about the new IDEAL implant.

The idea of the IDEAL implant was actually first presented to us by one of our patients.  She wanted a saline implant, but was hesitant by what she had heard about the way saline implants felt and rippled.  She asked me about the IDEAL implant which she had heard about from one of her friends.  I apologized and said that I wasn’t aware of a saline implant that felt like silicone and that her friend was most likely talking about a silicone implant.  She seemed confused and said she would ask her friend again.  A few days later, I received an email from her with a link to the IDEAL implant website.  I presented this information to Dr. Fine and he recommended we contact the company representative and set up a time when they could come to the office and teach us about this new implant.  Here is what we learned…..

The IDEAL implant was invented by plastic surgeon Dr. Robert S. Hamas in 2006.  Dr. Hamas realized that women wanted a new type of breast implant – one that would combine the natural feel of a silicone gel implant with only saline inside for safety and peace of mind.  Over the last 10 years, Dr. Hamas conducted a US clinical trial with 502 women, gathered volumes of safety, clinical, and manufacturing data and submitted it all to the FDA and Health Canada for approval.  Along the way they did experience their fair share of bumps in the road.  In 2009, some clinical trial implants that were manufactured in the trial facility in Montana deflated due to an assembly defect.  The manufacturing process was then moved to a facility in California that had a comprehensive quality control system and more than 30 years of experience manufacturing silicone medical devices.  The flaws were corrected and the result is today’s IDEAL implant.

The IDEAL implant is a structured implant.  Inside the implant are two saline chambers (inner and outer) that are each surrounded by a shell with 1-3 baffle shells in between the chambers.  This internal structure controls movement of the saline and supports the implant edges to reduce folding and wrinkling.  In addition, the implant is designed to contour to the natural curve of the chest wall.  This design leads to a more natural feeling saline implant.

The advantages of the IDEAL implant can be broken down into 3 categories:  clinical, filler, and rupture.

Clincal Advantages

  • Lower capsule contracture rate
  • Higher rupture strength
  • Smaller incision
  • Easy to remove

Filler Advantages

  • Only saline inside for peace of mind
  • Safety of saline
  • Saline is harmlessly absorbed by the body
  • Look in the mirror and know implants are intact

Rupture Advantages

  • No risk of silicone gel in tissues
  • No MRI scans needed to detect ruptures
  • No silent ruptures

The IDEAL implant is only available through a network of board certified or board-eligible plastic surgeons.  We, at NSPS, are part of this limited network.  If you have any questions or interest in the IDEAL implant, please don’t hesitate to ask us next time you’re in the office.

IDEAL implants are available for both cosmetic and reconstructive patients.  If you’d like to learn more about breast surgery in general, please visit our Chicago Breast Center website for additional details about these surgical options.


*Intact silicone gel implants are FDA-approved and safe. However, if ruptured, FDA says the “implant and any gel should be removed.” Since these ruptures are silent, an MRI scan is recommended every two years to detect rupture.



Tagged with:

Posted in: Uncategorized