Are Natrelle Inspira and Mentor Memory Gel Both Gummy Bear Silicone?
Doctor Answers 10
"Gummy Bear" should not be equated with all silicone gel implants!
This is a common area of confusion for patients researching their options for breast augmentation surgery. It does not help that even some Plastic Surgeon websites perpetuate the confusion. Both Mentor and Allergan offer a family of silicone gel breast implant devices with different features. Cohesive silicone gel implants are available from both companies but only a few should be described as having a "gummy bear" consistency.
Most of us are familiar with the look and feel of Gummy Bear candies. These popular treats have a firm feel, maintain their shape and would seldom be described as soft or "gooey". The equal in the silicone gel breast implant world are those implants that are "form-stable" and are referred by Plastic Surgeons to be third generation silicone gel implants. Allergan's family of implants includes the anatomically shaped Natrelle 410 and a round form-stable Inspira silicone gel implant. Mentor has a shaped form-stable implant known as the CPG. In Canada, we have had most of these form-stable, highly cohesive silicone gel and third generation implants available for breast augmentation surgery since 2002.
The Mentor "Memory Gel" and Allergan "Natrelle" round implants available in North America are considered second generation silicone gel implants. The gel filler used is more cohesive than older first generation implants which has lowered the rupture rates and reduced the risk of silicone gel leaching outside of the capsule of scar tissue that forms around all implants. These implants have become very popular compared to saline filled implants and have an excellent satisfaction rate.
Long term studies show that third generation or form-stable implants (Gummy Bears) have an overall reduced incidence of revisional surgery compared to less cohesive gel filled second generation implants. Unfortunately for patients in the United States, the FDA as not yet approved these third generation implants for elective breast augmentation. They are however approved for reconstructive breast surgery.
Having more choices as a Plastic Surgeon in Canada, has improved my ability to select implants that match the unique features and goals of my patients. Until these additional choices are available in the US, we should use all try to use the term "gummy bear" only with form-stable silicone gel breast implants and the original chewy and tasty candy!
The Gummy Bear Breast Implant Is Not Yet Available For Breast Augmentation use
Both the Allergan Natrelle and Mentor's Memory Gel are what are known as second generation silicone gel breast implants. They are often confused with, and some plastic surgeons even market them, as being the gummy bear implant which they are not. Gummy bear breast implants are third generation silicone gel materials, which are more solid (highly cohesive), but are not yet available for patient use. While the manufacturers do market the Natrelle and Memory Gel implants as having an advantage over each other, neither one is proven to be a superior silicone breast implant. The longevity of any silicone implant is patient dependent and no one can predict how long they will last. Failure of a silicone implant is when the shell (containment bag) ruptures, that is when one should have them replaced.
The difference between Memory Gel, Natrelle, and "Gummy Bear" silicone implants.
All silicone breast implants are made with polydimethylsiloxane molecules cross-linked to each other. The fewer crosslinks, the more liquid (oily) the silicone is, and more crosslinking yields more and more cohesive silicone gels. The present fifth generation of silicone gel implants (Memory Gel by Mentor, or Natrelle by Allergan) are both cohesive gels that do not leak or exhibit "silicone bleed" from the implant shell beyond microscopic molecular amounts that are substantially less than in previous generations of silicone gel implants (these were the ones that could rupture, leak, or stimulate inflammatory reaction and capsular contracture.) The present implants were engineered by both implant manufacturers to address and deal with these issues, and are much more cohesive than previous versions.
The "gummy bear" implant is an even more cohesive (more crosslinking), form-stable, teardrop-shaped, textured-surface implant that has been used in several studies that are hoped to lead to FDA approval. They are not yet available to the general population or plastic surgeons outside these studies (which I believe are presently closed). There are pros and cons to these implants that your surgeon can discuss.
At this point in time, both the Mentor Memory Gel and Allergan Natrelle silicone gel implants represent the best FDA-approved implants available, and are comprised of a soft but cohesive gel that does not ooze or leak if these implants are cut or punctured. They are NOT, however, as firm and form-stable as the shaped "gummy bear" study implants that have not yet received FDA approval.
No implant (or any implantable device) is guaranteed to "last a lifetime." However, silicone gel breast implants do not "wear out," nor do they automatically need replacement after any set period of time. The present generation of cohesive silicone gel implants will likely outlast your own anatomic changes or desire for different size or position, which are the most common reasons for re-operation, NOT implant "failure!"
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Natrelle and Memory Gel are not gummy bears
Both the Natrelle and the Memory Gel (the name is rather nice) are not highly cohesive breast implants known as gummy bear. Both implants perform very well, and are soft and blend well with the breast tissue. All implants will leak, including the gummy bear though with the latter the gel will not get beyond the capsule. The jury is still out on the advantage of a form stable cohesive implant for breast augmentation. Your Natrelle implant should last ten years plus.
Best of luck,
The cohesive gel or gummy implants are not yet available to the general market. They are not the same as the natrelle or memory gel implants.
Cohesive Gel Implants
Both are cohesive silicone
Silicone implants aren't lifetime devices but they don't have a defined lifespan either. Some think its ten years but this is not true. It lasts as long as you don't have a problem with them!
Breast Augmentation, Breast Enlargement, Breast Implants
The two companies Mentor and Allergan both make a great product. They have similar life time warranty and will stand by their products. I prefer the Mentor Memory Gel implants for my patients. The overall look is more natural and my patients all tell me they like the "natural look" in their breasts. The Mentor breast implants are manufactured in the United States, another plus.
Gummy Bear Implants
Gummy bear implants are not yet available to all surgeons. There are a few surgeons that offer these implants under an investigation protocol. I would recommend either Natrelle or Mentor regular gell implants which are FDA approved.
Differences between Allergan and Mentor silicone implants and "gummy bear" implants
Both the Mentor Memory Gel and the Allergan Natrelle silicone breast implants are cohesive silicone implants but are not the true "gummy bear" implants which are not available in America as they have not been approved by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration). The cohesive gel implant advantage over previous generation implants is that the gel is thick and taffy-like which minimizes even the microscopic migration of silicone particles elsewhere.
There are proprietary differences in the silicone, envelope and manufacture between the Allergan and the Mentor implants which can translate into differences in durability and result. Even with a given implant, there is a great range of expected durability.