One of the most exciting new developments in breast augmentation surgery is the gummy bear implant. These implants have been available to women around the globe for many years, but were only recently approved by the FDA for use in this country in 2013. A variation on traditional silicone implants, the gummy bear implants got their nickname because their consistency prior to placement is remarkably similar to that of gummy bear candies.
The main problem that breast augmentation patients may eventually experience after their surgery is the effect that gravity can have on their breasts. Gravity doesn’t change the implant itself, but it causes the implant to exert a downward force upon the breast. This can cause loss of upper breast fullness and bottoming out, or overstretching, of the lower portion of the breast. Over time, gravity can distort the shape of the breasts and make them appear more unnatural. This happens because traditional silicone or saline is not a firm substance, and not specifically formulated to be resistant to a change in shape.
Cohesive breast implants, also known as “form-stable” or gummy bear implants, are a new generation of silicone implants used for breast augmentation. The difference from traditional silicone gel implants is that the silicone gel has more chemical “crosslinks” or connections between the silicone molecules so the gel is more firm. The more crosslinking of the silicone molecules, the firmer the gel and the more resistant to a change in shape. The “art” in silicone chemistry is to create a gel firm enough to retain its shape over time, yet soft enough to still feel like natural breast tissue when placed within the breast.
As gummy bear implants resist change in shape, there are some distinct advantages over traditional silicone gel implants: breasts augmented with gummy bear implants tend to have better preservation of upper breast fullness, less bottoming out and less rippling than breasts augmented with traditional types of silicone gel implants.
Who are good candidates for Gummy Bear Breast Implants
In order to be a candidate for gummy bear implants you must first be a good candidate for breast augmentation in general. You should lead a healthy lifestyle that does not include smoking, be free of any infections and have no history of problems with general anesthesia. You should not currently have any breast disease, be pregnant or nursing. You weight, blood pressure and overall medical health should be good.
Gummy bear implants are not round, but are actually teardrop-shaped devices. These implants provide a more natural slope to the breast, giving a much more natural shape to the breast. Gummy bear implants are best for those with breasts that are not excessively lax. They are often the implant of choice for those with a constricted breast. As these implants are not round, if you are interested in these implants, it is best to see a surgeon who is particularly experienced in the use of these devices.
There are few downsides to this implant. There is approximately a 1% risk of implant rotation. If a round implant turns, it is of absolutely no consequence to the appearance of the breast. Individuals with thin breast tissue or significant sagging of the breasts are potentially more likely to experience rotation of the implant. Rotation will result in a noticeable change in breast shape. Although most of the time, the implant can be manually manipulated to rotate back to the proper position, it is sometimes better to use a traditional round implant as opposed to a gummy bear implant in those with very lax tissue. Gummy bear implants are firmer immediately after placement and can take longer to soften than round gel implants. They are also more costly than traditional round implants. However, the lower rates of reoperation, capsule contracture and rupture justifies the cost in the long run, even if you do not count the fact that the breasts will retain their shape better as well.
As with any type of cosmetic procedure, a patient who undergoes a breast augmentation procedure should set reasonable expectations. Everyone is different and the decision to commit to such a procedure should be thoroughly thought out and the consultation of a credentialed and experienced cosmetic surgeon should be sought before opting for the surgery. It behooves the patient to do as much research on the topic of breast augmentation as possible prior to having a surgical consultation.
Gummy bear implants can give a very natural result that can be long lasting. If you are interested in a highly cohesive (gummy bear) implant for a breast augmentation, make an appointment with Dr. Epstein.