Cohesive silicone-gel breast implants, also known as gummy bear implants, were approved for general use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March of 2012. Manufactured by Sientra, the implants are designed to hold their shape better than traditional silicone-gel implants. Even if the implant is cut in half, the form-stable gel within the implant should maintain its shape, similar to what would happen if you cut a gummy bear in half - hence the nickname. However, neither Sientra nor the FDA condone the use of the term gummy bear when describing the implants; the company and FDA prefer to call the implants cohesive silicone-gel implants rather than gummy bear breast implants.
Cohesive silicone-gel implants are still made of silicone, but have a strong outside lining made up of many layers to keep the gel inside from leaking out, which can happen with regular silicone implants. As another precaution, the gel that fills the inside of the implant is a cohesive material that sticks together if broken or if the implant ruptures.
Through the advancements shown in cohesive silicone-gel implants, patients can enjoy natural feeling breast implants that won't run the risk of bleeding out if the shell becomes ruptured or damaged.
Advantages of Gummy Bear Implants
Here are some of the advantages of cohesive silicone-gel implants:
- Their silicone base makes them feel more like natural breasts than saline implants
- They have "shape memory", which brings them back to their original shape when moved, dramatically decreasing the possibility of them folding or rippling
- The structure and gel material found within means they are harder to rupture, and ruptures won't release the gel inside. Instead, the implant's integrity and shape would remain
- The gel stays distributed in the proportions it was designed for, making it stable with good support and shape throughout
- The stability inherent in their design makes maintenance much easier
- Capsular contracture, where the scar tissue around the implant hardens and distorts the implant, apparently happens less often with cohesive implants than other types
- It is easier to create an ideal shape with cohesive silicone-gel implants, an advantage for less experienced surgeon. However, saline or silicone-gel products may better create the desired size and shape for the patient, so it is better to choose a surgeon who can skillfully place any type of implant.
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Photo credit: Pacific Plastic Surgery
Disadvantages of Gummy Bear Implants
There are also some drawbacks to gummy bear implants, which should be seriously considered before making any final decisions on the procedure:
- The implant needs a larger incision to be inserted into the breast pocket. This means it's usually limited to an inframammary incision or an areola incision.
- The implants are more expensive than the saline option
- The procedure is usually more expensive than the other options
Talk to a Surgeon about Breast Augmentation
To learn more about cohesive silicone-gel implants, also known as gummy bear implants, or any other type of breast surgery such as smallest size breast implants, contact a skilled surgeon. You can discuss different options, go over risks, get questions answered, and find the type of implant that can get you the results you really want.