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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Comparative experience with smooth and polyurethane breast implants using the Kaplan-Meier method of survival analysis.

Smooth-walled silicone implants have been widely used in breast surgery. Capsular contracture, causing undesirable firmness and spherical deformity, has been a common problem. Recent studies suggest that polyurethane-covered breast implants are associated with a lower incidence of capsular contracture. The statistical methodology employed in some of these studies, however, may be subject to criticism. Between July of 1984 and June of 1990 (72 months), 427 polyurethane breast implants were used in 279 patients and 439 smooth prostheses were used in 250 patients for a variety of aesthetic and reconstructive procedures. The occurrence of capsular contracture was carefully monitored and then analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method of survival analysis. This method is particularly well suited to analysis of these types of clinical data because it allows for the fact that contractures occur at varying intervals after surgery and that follow-up of patients is incomplete. The probability of capsular contracture with smooth-walled prostheses was found to be significantly greater than with polyurethane-covered implants in each group of patients studied (p less than 0.05). Other complications occurred at a similar rate regardless of prosthesis type. This study supports the belief that polyurethane breast implants have a lower contracture rate; furthermore, it introduces the Kaplan-Meier method for analyzing the outcome of alternative plastic surgical therapies.[1]


  1. Comparative experience with smooth and polyurethane breast implants using the Kaplan-Meier method of survival analysis. Handel, N., Silverstein, M.J., Jensen, J.A., Collins, A., Zierk, K. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. (1991) [Pubmed]
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