What are gummy bear breast implants? Are they better than silicone breast implants or saline implants?
Gummy Bear Breast Implants vs Saline or Silicone?
Doctor Answers (24)
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.
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.
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.
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Gummy Bear Breast Implants as Compared to Silicone Gel or Saline Breast Implants
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.
Gummy Bear Implants vs Round Implants - which is better
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
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.
Gummy bear implants are silicone implants
One of the biggest advantages when comparing saline vs silicone implants is that silicone implants feel more natural. They feel much more like a real breast. Compared to saline, rippling is much less common with cohesive gels because they are semi-solid. Deflation, which occurs with saline implants, does not occur with cohesive gels. If a cohesive gel implant ruptures, it maintains both its shape and integrity.
As well, there are multiple models of cohesive gel implants that vary with respect to projection, height, and width. This provides flexibility in determining the appropriate implant size to balance body proportions and breast aesthetics. Cohesive gels generally produce less unnatural upper breast fullness as compared to saline implants. As a result, they are more natural looking breast implants.
A disadvantage of cohesive implants is that they require a slightly larger incision for insertion, because they are semi-solid. Due to this, these implants are often placed through an incision in the fold under the breast ("infra-mammary"). If the nipple-areola is large enough, a nipple incision could possibly be used instead. Cohesive implants are more expensive than saline implants.
Cohesive Gel?...Form Stable?...Gummy Bear?
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.
Gummy Bear Breast Implants vs Saline or Silicone
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.