Gummy bears may very well have been your favorite candy as a kid, but if you’re now considering breast augmentation, you’ll soon be talking a lot about them once again, just not the fruity, chewy edible kind.
The newer generation of breast implants is made of a firmer form of silicone gel which bounces back to its original shape after being touched, just like the consistency a gummy bear…hence, their popular nickname: gummy bear breast implants. The medical terms for them are “form-stable” and “highly cohesive” breast implants. They are manufactured using a process of cross-linking silicone that produces a gel that’s so thick, it does not pour out of the implant shell if you cut it in half, thus maintaining the shape of the implant. Thanks to this new thicker consistency, gummy bear breast implants are shaped to mimic the natural teardrop shape of the breast, so they are fuller at the bottom and tapered to the top. This teardrop shape offers a new option to the original rounder silicone implants made with a more viscous, squishier gel poured into a circular shell.
Gummy bear breast implants offer women both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s talk about the positives first. The teardrop shape of gummy bear breast implants is potentially better equipped to maintain a more natural-looking breast; since it has a fuller base and tapered top leading to a smooth, tapered transition from your breast to chest. Additionally, since the cohesive silicone gel is thicker and less likely to leak from the implant shell, there is a decrease in silicone bleed. (Silicone bleed can cause capsular contracture, which is when a hardened capsule of scar tissue forms around your implant that can be painful and distorting.) Early data shows that these newer form-stable silicone implants have a lower capsular contracture rate compared to even just the last generation of implants. Also, thanks to the thickness of the gel, there is less wrinkling of the implant. Wrinkling and folding can not only cause visible irregularities, but may also contribute to shell failure and thus implant rupture, so gummy bear breast implants may also last longer.
As for the downsides of gummy bear breast implants, there is the potential for implant rotation, in which the thicker bottom can lead to a distorted breast shape. Also, with a firmer silicone gel, inserting the implant usually requires a larger incision than what you would use for the less viscous silicone breast implants. Although many women have told me that they prefer the firmness of gummy bear breast implants, some women still prefer a softer silicone option. It’s a personal decision.
Breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States among women 22 to 40 years old. Although women have previously only had to chose between silicone and saline breast implants, gummy bear breast implants present an exciting new option. There are three breast implant companies—Sientra, Mentor and Allergan—who all manufacture FDA-approved gummy bear breast implants. As the Disney Gummi Bears cartoon theme song goes, “Bouncing here and there and everywhere,” these breast implants are here to stay.
As with all breast implants, there is always the possibility of infection, bleeding and implant rupture. If you are considering breast augmentation, you should speak with your plastic surgeon and ask her or him about the newest implant options
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