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Gummy Bear Breast Implants vs Saline or Silicone?

What are gummy bear breast implants? Are they better than silicone breast implants or saline implants?

Doctor Answers 26

Gummy Bear Breast Implants as Compared to Silicone Gel or Saline Breast Implants

The answer to this question has changed over the last couple of years especially as breast implant technology has changed recently.

Let’s start by defining each implant.

    1. Saline breast implants are a silicone shell that is filled with saline at the time of surgery so they can be placed through very small incisions.  However, they are prone to leaking the saline and as a result you can end up with a flat breast that requires implant placement.  These implants are also prone to a wavy look also known as ripples.

   2. Silicone gel filled implants are 4th generation implants that are a shell that is prefilled with a silicone gel.  This gel is moderately cohesive or like a really thick glue or like a soft jelly.  They require a little bigger incision, and have some ripple problems.

   3. The gummy bear implants are the newest implant available.  They are the so called 5th generation implants and are called highly cohesive implants because when you cut them they maintain their shape just like a gummy bear candy.  They also have a shell that is usually textured to reduce scarring or capsule contracture around your implant.  This is a problem that can cause hardening of your implants and is the number one long term problem with breast implants.

There are almost as many opinions as to which is the best implant but recent articles in the plastic surgery literature suggest that the Sientra gummy bear implants have the lowest rupture rate, and the toughest shell.  They also have the very best warrantee.

The women I have spoken with, who have had both saline and silicone, all of them swear that the silicone feels much better.  I can tell you that the gummy bear implants look and feel much better as well.

I hope that helps.

Beat regards.

Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

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The term "gummy bear" implant can refer to one of two...

The term "gummy bear" implant can refer to one of two types of implants, depending on who you're talking to.

The new generation cohesive silicone gel implants, which are very commonly used now in the US, are sometimes referred to as the "gummy bear" implant because the new cohesive gel is different than the old silicone gel implants -- as the name implies, it is a more cohesive substance, and therefore is less likely to leak if the implant shell fails.

The "gummy bear implant" is also used to describe a "highly cohesive gel implant", which can be used primarily for breast reconstruction, as these patients have no remaining breast tissue to camouflage the implant.

In general, I prefer the standard cohesive gel silicone implants for most breast augmentations as I think they give a very natural look and feel, in particular if the patient is very thin or if we choose to place the implant above the muscle (these decisions vary based on the individual patient).

Patients can also obtain very nice results with saline implants as well, but it really comes down to sitting down with your doc and having a nice discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Gummy bear breast implants

Gummy bear breast implants are filled with silicone that is more cohesive than the currently FDA approved silicone breast implants. Silicone can be any consistency from similar to water to a solid. The consistency is varied by changing how many cross-links are between the silicone molecules. The gummy bear implants have 3% more cross-linking. The FDA approved silicone gel implants have a silicone consistency similiar to honey, it also very tacky like taffy. This type of silicone flows in the implant; that is, if the implant is placed in a different position, the silicone will flow to the most dependent area of the implant, pulled by gravity. The top of the implant will lose volume and "collapse"; there is rippling.

The gummy bear silicone implants are called "form stable" because the silicone does not flow, the shape of the implant remains the same despite changing its position; gravity has no effect on the silicone. Because of this, the top of the implant does not "collapse" and there is very little, if any, rippling. It also has much lower leak rates compared to silicone gel implants according to the data accumulated so far.

There are other differences -- the gels are round, the gummy bear is anatomic shape, etc. The implants are available through plastic surgeons that are participating in the FDA approved study. If you have additional questions about this type of implant, please feel free to call my office. You can find other plastic surgeons who are participating in the study by contacting Allergan. Mentor also has a form stable silicone implant. Hope this helps.

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Cohesive gel implants

"Gummy bear" implants refer to the new generation of cohesive gel silicone implants. The silicone in the implant is highly cross-linked making it into a thick gel - like jello or gummy bears.

The advantage of this type of implant is that if the shell ruptures, the contents won't leak out. The old silicone implants had a liquid silicone inside so if they ruptured, the silicone would leak out and cause a sticky mess, leading to local problems.

Mentor currently has 3 levels of cohesive gel implants on the market with varying levels of "jelliness." I find these implants have a more natural appearance, feel and movement when compared to the saline implants or old silicone implants.

They are more expensive than saline implants, but I recommend them to most of patients.

Kim Meathrel, MD
Ontario Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Gummy Bear Implants vs Round Implants - which is better

Gummy Bear is the general public's term for Shaped Implants.  All implant companies provide shaped implants, which all have a textured coating and a more rigid silicone gel inside.

For the vast majority of women, standard round gel implants give the best overall look, cost less without the worry of rotation.

Think of Shaped implants mainly for reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Costanzo, Thousand Oaks, CA. Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Christopher Costanzo, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Gummy bear implants

Gummy bear implants are the latest generation of cohesive gel implants. These implants have a higher gel density making them more firm than the standard silicone implants. The gel inside both types of silicone implants is thick and cannot leak into the body, however gummy bear implants are thicker than standard silicone implants.

Although there is a possible safety advantage, this can also be a disadvantage to patients because the breasts tend to look and feel less natural due to the implants holding their shape better. The implant will fall less naturally in the pocket of the breast, similar to issues found with tear drop implants. These implants are still unavailable for widespread use and are still under strict testing guidelines, but are expected to become more prominent in the market after receiving FDA approval.

What Exactly Is A Gummy Bear Implant?

The term "gummy bear" implant is widely used but poorly understood.  Initially, this term was coined to describe form stable or anatomic type implants which held a tear drop shape.  However, in the last several years, this term is being applied to cohesive silicone implants which are round and not form stable.  These implants contain a cohesive silicone which resists extravasation outside the implant capsule.  Allergan, Mentor, and Sientra make both form stable and cohesive implants which fall under the general description of a "gummy bear" implant.

John Burns, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Silicone, Saline & Gummy Bear Implants - The Differences

The type of breast implant used is one of the most important decisions facing patients undergoing breast augmentation surgery. Recently, cohesive gel implants have been introduced as an alternative to silicone and saline implants. These implants which are also known as gummy bear implants have a higher density silicone gel with a greater number of cross links. The implants are shaped and texturized to maintain their position.

These implants have several advantages and are especially helpful in women with small breasts. Under these circumstances they are less likely to have ripples or develop capsular contractures. They are associated with a natural shape and high patient satisfaction rates. When these implants rupture, the silicone doesn’t migrate into the surrounding tissue because of the gels thickness.

Although gummy bear implants have several advantages they also have disadvantages, these include firmness and the maintenance of the same shape regardless of the patient’s positioning. In addition, these implants can rotate which causes malposition of the implant and distortion of the breast.

It’s important to realize that each patient has specific anatomic findings and unique aesthetic goals that effect the choice of implant. For this reason it’s important to discuss this decision with a  board-certified plastic surgeon. 

Gummy bear implants are silicone implants

Silicone implants that are a little firmer in consistency are called gummy bear, but really the terms have become interchangeable.

Cohesive Gel?...Form Stable?...Gummy Bear?

Cohesive gel?…Form stable?...Gummy Bear?…what do these terms have in common? With the recent introduction and FDA approval of the next generation of devices, the attention of patients, physicians and the media has been focused on these terms. While these devices have certainly captured the public’s attention, an in-depth understanding continues to evade most.

Following the FDA moratorium on the use of silicone gel filled breast in 1992, “cohesive gel implants” were introduced to the market. How do these devices differ form their predecessors? The silicone gel of a cohesive gel implant is firmer (via the addition of proprietary cross-linker). The greater the cross-linking the firmer the device will feel. The result is a filling that doesn’t leak when the shell is compromised in the way that a traditional liquid does. This quality is best illustrated when cutting a device in half…doesn’t yield a gooey mess but instead two stable halves.

Generally speaking today’s silicone implants are all “cohesive gel implants.” This broad term has been inappropriately applied to the next generation of “highly cohesive gel implants.” However, the recent media attention on “cohesive gel implants” is not warranted and is in fact misplaced.

These newest devices to reach the market are form stable implants. These higher strength silicone gel implants were approved by the FDA in March 2012. They contain a more “highly cohesive gel.” This increase confers upon these devices the ability to maintain shape irrespective of position. This quality has earned them the informal nickname of “Gummy Bear” implants. Imagine cutting into a gummy bear candy and the effect is the same.

While these implants are new, “novelty” does not necessarily equal “better.” There is a device for every patient. Form stable implants have both advantages/disadvantages. The advantages are: shape retention, no shell folding/wrinkling, no leakage, decreased capsular contracture. The disadvantages include: increased cost, limitations related to access incision, increased technical difficulty, device rotation.

There are currently 3 devices with FDA approval available to the public at large. They are the Allergan/Inamed 410, Mentor Memory Shape, Sientra. Each represents a different point along the cohesive gel spectrum, the former being the firmest and the latter the softest.

In general, traditional silicone implants are preferred over saline implants by many patients and surgeons for their more natural feel. As when making decisions about any form of surgery, patients should have an in-depth consultation with their board certified plastic surgeon before selecting the type of implant to use. While form stable anatomic implants are newer, they may not be suitable for all patients.

Donovan Rosas, MD
Nyack Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.