If you’ve been thinking about having breast augmentation in 2018, you’ve surely been doing some research. You know there are many choices/decisions you’ll need to make beyond just the big one of deciding to move forward with augmentation.
One of those decisions will be the type of implant you want Dr. Lipton to place. In the past, the choices have been saline or silicone. In 2012 a new type of implant added a third option, the gummy bear implant. Although technically silicone, this implant option is different that the usual silicone implants, so deserves attention on its own. Dr. Lipton likes his patients to have as much information as possible heading into any surgical procedure, so here’s the lowdown on gummy bear implants.
What is a gummy bear implant?
The difference in these implants is the gel. Gummy bear implants retain their shape, unlike other implant choices, because the gel is thicker than traditional silicone implants. Beyond the moniker “gummy bear implants” they are also known as cohesive, form-stable, or highly cohesive. These terms denote the attributes of these implants made by three companies: Sientra, Allergan, and Mentor. Sientra had stopped production due to a manufacturing problem, but that has been corrected, so again there are three producers of these implants.
Cohesive silicone gel
There is some misunderstanding about what “cohesive gel” breast implants are. The fact is all silicone implants sold today use a more “cohesive” silicone gel than implants from the 80s and early 90s. Only the most cohesive, i.e., thicker, are deemed to be “gummy bear implants.” To get an idea of the density, if a cohesive implant is cut in half, there is no gross movement of gel, and the implant maintains its shape. The name “gummy bear” came from doctors when they were first introduced to these new implants in 2012.
Cohesive breast implants are anatomically shaped to match the natural breast, which projects more at the bottom than at the top. The teardrop shape is thinner at the top, filling out more at the bottom. This shape maintains itself due to the thicker nature of the cohesive gel.
All gummy bear implants are textured. This texturing increases friction and helps keep the implants from rotating. This is very important because these implants are different at the bottom and the top, so maintaining their position is a necessity.
Since gummy bear implants have only been on the market for five years, there isn’t any long-term research on their durability, propensity (or not) to develop capsular contracture, and other issues. Like traditional implants, gummy bear implants can rupture, although the gel tends to stay close to the implant. Rippling is far less prevalent with cohesive implants than with traditional silicone implants (or even more so saline implants), although this is usually related to how much tissue is atop the implant.