A simple new device is making an established procedure a bit easier. The Keller Funnel is a tool that helps surgeons place breast implants through a smaller incision. This simple device not only aids the surgeon, but offers the patient post-surgical benefits as well.
"The Keller Funnel is a really simple idea that works quite well," describes San Jose board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Daryl Hoffman. "It's a way to put a silicone implant into the breast without touching either the implant or the skin and putting it in through a small incision." Dr. Hoffman says that by using a funnel shape, physicians can place the pre-filled silicone implants through a small incision, saving their patients from a large scar and keeping them safer from contamination or infection.
Denver board certified plastic surgeon and author Dr. Gregory Buford says, "I always change my gloves before I touch the implant and I'm the only one who touches the implant. It sits in triple antibiotic solution, which is recommended. The interior of Keller Funnel is completely sterile. I take the implant which I only touch once, place it in the funnel, squeeze it into the pocket and it never comes in contact again with anybody else," thus greatly limiting the chance of contamination and reducing the risk for infections.
Avoiding contact with both the implant and the patient's skin may decrease the risk of infection and also cut the possibility of capsular contracture, a painful condition for breast augmentation patients. A hardened shell of tissue forms around the implant. To break it up, the physician will either apply pressure, literally pushing on the shell to break it, or there are surgical options where the physician will lance the shell to break it.
It's not 100% clear why contracture occurs, but it is theorized that it could be due to infection or even the talc on the doctor's gloves. According to Dr. Buford, "In terms of reducing our capsule contrapture rate, I think the Keller Funnel really is a great advance."
Dr. Hoffman says that patients enjoy the benefits of a shorter scar. "It's easier to put the implant in through an incision around the nipple or under the arm instead of a longer incision under the breast. The Keller Funnel makes implant placement possible through a smaller incision, avoiding a scar underneath the breast that may be more visible."