Silicone Breast Implants: Mentor vs. Natrelle
What’s the Difference?
Many prospective breast enhancement clients do not realize that there is a choice of breast implant manufacturers. With the rapid rise of the use of silicone gel implants since they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006, there has been a battle for market share among the companies that make these products. In my practice, I use both Mentor and Natrelle implants for breast enhancement. Upon seeing the displays for both implant makers in my office, naturally, my clients are very curious about the differences among the implants. I am glad to share some details that may help you make some sense of the choice you and your surgeon have.
Both the Mentor breast implant, made by Johnson and Johnson, and Natrelle breast implant, an Allergan product, implant lines are outstanding. Typically, for financial or convenience reasons, a surgeon will choose one of these two implant lines to offer their patients. However, there are some situations where one implant make may be a better option over the other for a given patient. Let’s begin by examining what is probably not a significant difference between them.
The chance of complications is probably about the same whether you choose a Mentor or Natrelle implant. The results of their 8 and 10-year studies, respectively, are reported publicly and can be found online at www.fda.gov.
Though at first glance the studies appear to show superiority of one over the other, upon closer investigation of the study methods, it is clear that the data cannot be directly compared. Truly, this is a case of comparing apples to oranges. Rest assured that overall complications are relatively low and, to date, there is no clear winner in this regard.
Cost is generally not a deciding factor either. Generally, surgeons can obtain the Natrelle and Mentor breast implants at roughly the same cost, thus, the cost to the consumer should be about the same. Similarly, Mentor and Natrelle offer equivalent warrantee programs. However, as Allergan has a more robust product line with regard to facial aesthetics, sometimes they offer incentives that are passed along to clients including samples for Latisse, an eyelash enhancement product, and Botox, made famous for the treatment of facial lines, among others.
What About Feel?
Feel—yes, they do feel different. I am not sure that the difference is significant once they are placed within the woman’s breast. Outside the body, the Mentor implant’s shell is slightly softer and more pliable whereas the Natrelle shell appears just slightly more firm. Might there be some subtlety here that may suit one patient better over another? Perhaps, however patient satisfaction is extremely high with both.
Are There Any Other Differences?
Beyond the feel of the implants, here are the key differences that might affect your choice of brand.
- Shape: Natrelle offers more choice with regard to shape, or more specifically, the projection of the implant compared to its width. Projection is the dimension that describes how far forward from the woman’s chest the implant extends.
- Size: Mentor has more consistent size intervals and more options within an implant shape. Let’s use shoe sizing as an analogy. Natrelle simply offers more choices of “widths” whereas Mentor offers more choice of “size” within a given width. So, if Natrelle were a shoe company, they would offer A, B, C, D, E, F Widths with 8 sizes in each width. While Mentor might offer A, D, EE, EEEE Widths with 12 sizes in each width. It is critical to match the width of the proposed implant with the width of the client’s breast.
Further, the situation can arise where one implant manufacturer would provide an implant which “fits” that client’s breast better than the other given the woman’s choice of implant size. Therefore, I make both Natrelle and Mentor breast implants available to my patients; though admittedly, these situations are relatively rare. Indeed, I have many esteemed colleagues who consistently achieve excellent results using just one implant manufacturer.
At the end of the day, the differences among the implants ARE subtle and both of these implant manufacturers are very popular. Perhaps most importantly, with an extensive track record from both companies and thorough consultation with your surgeon, you can feel confident choosing either a Mentor or Natrelle silicone gel implant.