If you’re considering breast surgery, you’ll have heard of gummy bear implants. Ever since a savvy marketer coined the term, the cosmetic surgery community has been abuzz with this “hot new trend.” But are gummy bear implants the right choice for you?
Choosing the right implant for your breast augmentation is one of the most important decisions you will make. Our plastic surgeons at NuBody Concepts Cosmetic Surgery in Nashville and Memphis perform breast augmentations on a daily basis and can help you decide what works best for you.
Not ready to get started yet? Let us share where we stand on the pros and cons of gummy bear implants by answering some questions you may have.
What are Gummy Bear Implants?
Gummy bear implants are a relatively new generation of breast implants. They are the most recent type of silicone implant to come on the market and are filled with a more highly-cohesive silicone gel. This makes them denser and allows them to retain their shape better than earlier versions, as well as lowering the risk of leakage.
Due to their ability to retain shape they are also called form-stable implants. And because they often have a teardrop shape rather than the round shape of earlier implant versions, they are also referred to as tear-drop implants.
As you can see, using the term “gummy bear” for breast implants can be confusing, even among doctors. Everybody seems to prefer a different definition. Some equate them with all highly-cohesive gel implants, and others equate them with all teardrop-shaped implants. Neither is quite true. It is best to stick with FDA-approved terminology and stay away from marketing lingo when discussing such an important decision as to which breast implant is best.
Are Gummy Bear Implants Different from Silicone Implants?
Gummy bear implants are silicone implants (as opposed to the other category, saline-filled implants). But earlier silicone implants are made from a softer gel that is more elastic. Since we’re already talking candy, you might imagine them more like Jello-O. Gummy bear implants are made from a denser version of silicone that allows them to hold their shape in any position.
Mentor’s MemoryGel is a good example of a regular silicone implant, compared to their highly-cohesive MemoryShape implant. However, breast implant science is continually evolving. There are a variety of implants that are better classified in degrees of firmness on a spectrum vs either soft or firm. Sientra breast implants come in two levels of cohesiveness that try to find a sweet spot between a soft, natural feel vs durability and shape retention.
What are Highly-Cohesive Breast Implants?
Highly-cohesive breast implants most closely define what most people associate with gummy bear implants. Earlier generations of silicone implants use cohesive silicone gel, meaning they do not contain a liquid like saline implants. However, in the unlikely case of rupture of the shell, there is still a chance the gel might leak into the surrounding tissue. Highly-cohesive silicone implants are firmer and retain their shape even better like, well, a gummy bear!
Highly-cohesive breast implants are also often teardrop shaped, to better mimic the natural slope of the breast. The denser nature of the gel allows for more options when it comes to shape. However, there are also highly-cohesive gel implants that are round.
Are Gummy Bear Breast Implants Smooth or Textured?
Teardrop-shaped implants are typically textured vs smooth. The texture helps them remain in place. As you can imagine, this isn’t important for round implants since they are symmetrical, but it’s very important for a teardrop-shaped implant to stay in its upright place. If you equate gummy bear implants with teardrop-shaped implants, you could say that they most often are textured.
Textured implants are also believed to be less likely to cause a condition called capsular contraction (a type of thick scar) than smooth implants. However, the FDA has determined that textured implants are associated with a higher incidence of a rare type of lymphoma called BIA-ALCL (although it should be pointed out the incidence is still very low). Whether textured or smooth is best for you will depend on your body type and what your plastic surgeon advises. This is definitely a topic to discuss during your consultation.
What are the Advantages of Gummy Bear Implants?
Because of their shape retention, gummy bear implants are made to look very natural. They also defy the laws of gravity other implants succumb to and retain their shape longer than other implants. Another advantage of the highly-cohesive gel is that the implants are not prone to “rippling” like other implants might. There is a low risk of rupturing and the gel leaking into adjacent tissue.
Are There Disadvantages of Gummy Bear Implants?
Gummy bear implants have a higher degree of firmness than regular silicone gel implants. Depending on how highly-cohesive the gel is, they can feel too firm for some patients. It is important to understand why highly-cohesive implants were developed in the first place, says Dr. Rosdeutscher, double-board certified plastic surgeon and Chief Medical Officer at NuBody Concepts.
“Highly cohesive gel implants are typically used in reconstruction cases when a patient needs to have a breast shape created when breast tissue is removed. They are not always the best option for our patients as they can be firmer and feel less like breast tissue than other silicone implants.”Dr. John Rosdeutscher, double-board certified plastic surgeon in Nashville, TN
At NuBody Concepts, we believe that teardrop-shaped, textured implants – which many people equate with gummy bear implants and thus ask us about – are not typically the best choice for breast augmentation. We do use both regular and highly-cohesive gel implants made by different manufacturers, but we prefer to stay away from textured teardrop shaped implants due to their higher association with BIA-ALCL than smooth (regular or highly-cohesive) silicone implants. Each of our surgeons may prefer certain brands and types of implants over others and welcomes the opportunity to discuss the best implant option for you in a personal consultation.
How to Choose the Best Breast Implant
In the end, which implant you choose will depend on a number of factors. For instance, what cup size are you looking for? Are you more interested in a breast enlargement or changing the shape of your breast? Are you looking for the lowest possible cost? Will the implants be placed under or over the muscle, which in turn depends on your size and frame, width of shoulders, etc.? Which type of implant is your plastic surgeon most comfortable and experienced with?
The best way to find answers to all of these questions is the schedule a personal consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Contact us today in Nashville or Memphis to schedule your breast augmentation consultation!