Breast augmentation is the most common cosmetic surgery performed in the United States with more than a quarter million women undergoing the procedure each year. Historically silicone and saline implants were the only choices available to women seeking breast augmentation, but FDA approval of form stable silicone implants, also known as gummy bear implants, has given women another option.
Gummy bear implants earned their cute nickname because they are made of a cohesive gel material that holds its shape even when cut, much like the colorful candy. This stability is achieved through the use of dense silicone gel that offers several advantages and disadvantages compared to other types of implants.
One of the biggest advantages of gummy bear implants is a more natural look and feel than other implants. Rather than a simple round shape, gummy bear implants have a teardrop shape that give fullness to the lower breast and taper towards the top of the implant. This more closely mimics the shape of natural breasts and resists the effects of gravity and aging more effectively. The firm gel also creates a feel more similar to a natural, youthful breast than softer silicone and saline implants
A second advantage to cohesive gel implants is that they are not prone to shell folds or leakage. Because the filler material does not shift and move within the shell, folds and other shell defects are less likely to occur. Most leakage in other implants occurs at the site of such damage to the shell, so this increased stability also dramatically reduces the risk of leakage.
Finally, early evidence suggests that gummy bear implants are less likely to cause capsular contracture. The reason for this is not yet well-established but the increased firmness of the implant as well as the reduced diffusion of silicone into the body are thought to reduce the chances of this potential complication of breast augmentation.
One disadvantage of cohesive gel implants is price. The cost of gummy bear implants is several hundred dollars higher per pair than conventional implants. The procedure also requires greater surgical precision, and finding a surgeon experienced in this form of breast augmentation may also add to the total cost of the operation.
A second disadvantage of gummy bear implants pertains to the insertion procedure itself. Because these implants cannot be compressed and reformed to fit through a small incision, insertion requires a larger incision of 4 to 5 centimeters. In addition to a longer surgical scar this also limits the options for incision placement, making the discreet armpit incision nearly impossible.
Finally, although rare there is some potential for gummy bear implants to rotate after insertion. Because of the formed, fixed shape of the implant this can resort in distortion of the shape of the breast and requires a surgical revision and replacement with a round implant to correct.
Gummy bear implants provide a new and attractive option for women seeking breast augmentation. With the help of a qualified surgeon and careful consideration of the pros and cons of this new technology, patients can make the choice that best conforms to their goals for the procedure.
Dr. Antonio Gayoso is a certified plastic surgeon. He serves thousands of satisfied clients in the Tampa area at his practice Gayoso Plastic Surgery. For more beauty information, check out their website.