Breast Implant Warranties Improved for 2015
There is a lot of confusion among patients as to what their breast implant warranty covers following augmentation surgery. There is a distinction in warranties between saline and gel implants, and a slight difference among the various manufacturers; Allergan, Mentor and Sientra. Registration for the warranty varies between medical practices, but whenever there is a fee to the patient for an upgraded warranty, the patient is responsible for doing that themselves online within 45 days of their surgery. Beginning with saline implants, there is lifetime replacement coverage for a rupture, or deflation. In this situation the companies also provide a contralateral implant (for the non-affected implant) within a comparable size range. For the first ten years if something does happen to the implant the manufacturers may also provide financial assistance as well, to help cover the cost of the doctor replacing the defective implant. To obtain or increase the financial assistance there may be a fee of $200, this is often referred to as the enhanced warranty. It is important to understand that while the implant itself is covered by warranty for the lifetime, the financial assistance ends after ten years. It is highly recommended that all patients with saline implants purchase the enhanced warranty when available, as the standard plan may offer no financial assistance, and even if it does the standard financial assistance is not enough to cover the surgeon’s fees.
The warranty for gel or silicone implants is slightly better coverage. Again, the implants themselves are covered for life if a rupture or defect occurs. It is possible for the doctor to get a contralateral (other side), implant at no charge as well, within a comparable size range. The financial assistance for most companies is $3500 to help cover the surgeon’s fees, if there is an issue during the first ten years following surgery. The improvement in the warranty beginning in November 2014, is that the companies will not provide a replacement implant at no charge if the patient has a capsular contracture, which occurs in 15% of all implant patients according to the national data. The restriction is that it must be within the first 3, or 10 years depending on the manufacturer, and it must be what they refer to as Baker lll/lV, which means the severity of the contracture must be on the higher end. It does not cover a very mild case of capsular contracture. The grade is determined by the physician. Some companies also provide financial assistance for capsular contracture, others do not, so be sure to have an understanding after your consult of exactly what the warranty will cover regarding capsular contracture. To further complicate things for the consumer, one company does offer an enhanced version of the capsular contracture warranty, so that if an additional fee is paid by the patient after surgery, the warranty time period extends from 3 to 10 years of coverage. If an enhanced warranty is offered on the gel implants it is highly recommended that the patient purchase it. Always ask the doctor with whom you are consulting with how often he encounters these situations, as it can vary greatly. The staff at Spring Ridge Plastic Surgery is very thorough about reviewing the warranty coverage for the implants with each patient.