Breast in Show: Are Gummy Bear Implants the Next Breast Thing?
If you are considering breast augmentation with implants, you may have heard some buzz about the latest option in the breast implant category — the highly cohesive gel or "gummy bear" breast implant.
Two gummy bear implants are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States: Sientra's Silimed implants and Allergan's Natrelle 410 breast implant. The FDA is currently reviewing data on a third, the contour profile gel (CPG) from Mentor.
Meet the Gummy Bear Implant
Gummy bear implants are made of a highly cohesive, form-stable silicone gel. Compared with the other types of silicone gel implants, the silicone particles in the gummy bear implants are more cross-linked, so the material bands together more closely. This "form-stable" quality is where some of the advantages of gummy bear implants come into play.
One of these advantages is the feel — gummy bear implants have the feel of natural breast tissue.
There are also safety pluses. Namely, if you cut a gummy bear implant in half, the gel stays put. As a result, there is minimal risk of gel migration if the implant shell ruptures (and they can). This puts them on par with saline breast implants, which (upon rupture) release only salt water into the body. And gummy bear implants feel more natural than saline gel implants.
In contrast, with other types of silicone gel implants, errant gel can migrate and may cause local problems such as scarring and granulomas (small areas of inflammation in tissue).
According to some experts, the new cohesive gel implants may also pose a lower risk of capsular contracture (scar tissue around the breast implant). Exactly why this occurs, and if it proves to be true in the long run, is unknown, but it may be a result of how firm the new implants are.
There are some downsides to the newest player in breast enhancement. Some board-certified plastic surgeons feel that the cohesive gel is simply too hard and firm. The "form-stable" attribute means that they must be inserted through a larger incision, since their shape can't be altered. The incision length may be up to 5.5 centimeters, depending upon the size of the implant. Smaller incisions are used for today's silicone gel and saline-filled breast implants.
So What's Taking So Long?
The FDA recently approved a high-strength cohesive implant from Sientra in both round and tear-dropped shapes. They are currently reviewing data on the 410 breast implant, which is being manufactured by Allergan, and the contour profile gel (CPG) from Mentor. Whether or not the FDA will give its nod to these implants — and when that may occur — is anyone's guess. Study investigators say the data looks good, and that post-marketing studies are ongoing. For now, all eyes are on the FDA. Stay tuned.
Gummy Bear Implant Cost
Form-stable breast implants cost more than other types of silicone-gel implants. Discuss the cost with your surgeon during your breast implant consultation.