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Cohesive Gel Breast Implants - Gummy Bear Breast Implants


A recently FDA approved Breast implant

Cohesive Gel Breast Implants, or as they are sometimes colloquially known, "Gummy Bear" breast implants have become remarkably popular since being reapproved by the FDA in 2006.

The gummy bear breast implants can provide you with a more natural shape and feel because they use a silicone gel that is more cohesive and form-stable compared to the currently available silicone implants.

Note: true "gummy bear" breast implants (HIGHLY cohesive gel or type II and III cohesive gel implants) are actually not approved for the US market. But since most people associate the term "gummy bear" implants with Type I cohesive implants then this is what we refer to here.

History of Gummy Bear Breast Implants

Also called cohesive gel breast implants, they have been used in Europe since 1995.  These devices have also been approved in Canada and Australia several years ago, which shows that they are relatively safe and effective to a significant number of patients.

After the FDA reapproved them in the United States in 2006, it then implemented a post clinical study program. However, it is no longer necessary for women to be enrolled in "after" studies for cohesive gel, as the breast implant companies already have the 40,000 women required for the study.

The Advantages of Gummy Bear Breast Implants

If you want to achieve a very natural appearance, this new implant is the right choice for you.  This is because the device uses a solid mass of silicone gel that has a consistency and feel that is much closer to your breast tissue.

And unlike the currently available silicone and saline implants, the gummy bear breast implants have been proven to exhibit “shape memory,” which means that if they move, they will return to their original form.  Aside from allowing your breasts to feel natural, this characteristic also prevents the shell from folding and rippling.

Take note of the fact that folding and rippling is the primary cause of implant leak, which means that these new implants have a significantly lower chance of rupturing compared to saline and silicone implants.

Overall, you should not be concerned about implant leak if you will choose the gummy bear implants for your breast augmentation or breast reconstruction surgery since they are filled with a very cohesive, stable gel that even if the shell is cut in half, it will not leak or migrate to other parts of the body.

This is not the case if you will use the traditional silicone implants that are filled with a liquid silicone gel which can leak if the outer shell is punctured or damaged.

And because this new implant is less likely to wrinkle inside the breasts, the shell is not subjected to a high level of friction and tension that may eventually weaken it.  For this reason, many plastic surgeons and experts believe that this device can last longer than the currently available saline and silicone implants.

Perhaps the most exciting about these new implants is that they can lower the risk of capsular contracture, a painful condition in which the scar tissue squeezes the implants to the extent that the contour of the breasts is distorted (shaped like a ball).

According to several studies, capsular contracture occurs less frequently with the use of gummy bear breast implants compared to the saline- and silicone-filled versions.  While the main reason behind this is still inconclusive, most experts suggest that the most probable cause is the implants’ firm and stable structure.

Downsides of Gummy Bear Breast Implants

While your doctor insert the implants inside your breasts, they cannot be folded due to their cohesiveness.  For this reason, you will need a slightly longer incision in the crease of the breast than the one used in saline and silicone implant surgery.

And because your plastic surgeon will create a longer surgical cut, the options you have is the breast crease incision, areola and axillary (underarm or armpit).  Meanwhile, you cannot ask for navel incision site since the cohesive gel breast implants will not be able to fit into small incisions.

Another thing you must consider is that gummy bear breast implants cost more than the saline- and silicone-filled implants.

SUiTABILITY FOR THIS BREAST Implant

To be considered as a good candidate for this new implant, you should meet these following requirements:

  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You accept the risks associated with breast surgery and your responsibilities as a patient (e.g., you must return for scheduled visits over a ten-year period)
  • You have adequate amount of tissue to cover the implants
  • Your breasts are not too saggy
  • You have a condition that is appropriate for breast augmentation, revision, or reconstruction
  • You have realistic goals and expectations
  • You are not pregnant or nursing
  • You are physically fit and emotionally stable

Shape of Gummy Bear Breast Implants

While the cohesive gel breast implants come in teardrop and round shape. The advantage of using teardrop-shaped implants is that you can achieve a natural-looking breast since they can make the bottom area larger than the upper poles.  This is not the case in round implants in which your breasts’ contour will resemble a dome, with its top protruding high.

If the gummy bear breast implants come in a teardrop-shaped, you can expect that the result will appear more natural since the form-stable filler can maintain the contour of the shell.

On the other hand, the round-shaped cohesive gel breast implants resemble an M&M when you place them on top of a table.

While the round-shaped breast implants have a shell that may come in smooth or textured exterior, the teardrop implants are always designed with a textured surface so they will not flip over or move too much inside the pocket that they may distort the shape of your breasts.

Screening Tests Before and After Your Breast Surgery

The American Cancer Society strongly recommends you to undergo a pre-operative mammogram if you are 35 years and older to ensure that there are no abnormalities in your breasts.

After your breast surgery via gummy bear implants, your plastic surgeon will most likely recommend a regular MRI screening which is the best way to evaluate the integrity of these devices.  But in the near future, 4-D ultrasound techniques will be available for patients with breast implants which are expected to provide a more detailed and accurate result.

During Your Breast Surgery

Your breast augmentation via gummy bear breast implants will be performed as an outpatient surgery which means that you can immediately return to your home after the procedure.

To begin the procedure, your doctor will administer general anesthesia that will put you to a state similar to sleep.  Once the medication takes effect, he will create a horizontal, discreet incision along your breast crease so the scars are well hidden.

Through the incision, your doctor will create a “pocket” for each breast where he can place the gummy bear implants behind the chest muscle or above this area, although most experts recommend the under-the-muscle implant placement so more tissue and skin will cover the shell.

Once the breasts appear symmetrical to each other, your doctor will close the incision sites using sutures and then wrap your chest with dressing and compression garments.

Recovery After Your Breast Surgery

Following your surgeon’s instructions on how to take care of your breasts is the key to a successful surgery.  You should remember that your incisions should not be subjected to excessive motion, force, and abrasion during your recovery.

It is also important that you are accompanied by a “capable” adult during the first few days of your recovery or for at least 24 hours after your breast surgery.

In most cases, you can return to normal activities of daily living after two days, although it may take four weeks or longer before you can engage in physical activities and exercises.  But to be on the safe side, you should ask your plastic surgeon on when it is safe to resume these activities.

It is important that you return to your doctor for follow-up care and examination to determine if your body is recovering well.  But in case that you experience chest pains, shortness of breast, or unusual heart rate, you should immediately seek medical attention and not wait for the next scheduled appointment.

The true Gummy bear breast implant is said to provide a more natural result compared to the saline and silicone gel version. However, this biocompatible material is still under clinical trial in the US even though this is already used in Europe for more than 15 years

FAQs about gummy bear breast implants:

What are the most notable benefits of these new implants compared to the saline- and silicone-filled versions?

Because the gummy bear implants are made of silicone particles more cohesive and cross-linked than the ones used by the currently available silicone implants, these can provide a more natural result.
Another benefit is that this new type of implant exhibits "memory shape" which enables it to return to its original form.

Is gummy bear breast implant safe?

In terms of safety, some experts have claimed that this new implant is at par with the saline-filled breast implant. This is because it uses a very cohesive silicone material that stays put even if the shell is cut in half, which means that there is no risk of gel "bleeding" and migrating to other parts of the body. In addition, some plastic surgeons believe that patients with gummy bear breast implants have a lower chance of developing capsular contracture, a very painful condition in which the implants are being compressed by the surrounding tissues. While the reason behind this is still unknown, some experts attributed this to the firmness of the implants.

Is it possible to have this new breast implant even if this is not yet FDA-approved?

Yes. While this implant is not yet introduced in the US market, patients can have this by choosing a plastic surgeon who is participating in the clinical trials.

Is there a good chance that FDA will approve this new implant?

While no one is sure if the agency will give its approval, study investigators have claimed that the findings look promising.

In case the FDA will approve gummy bear breast implants, how much will they cost?

While the exact price of these implants is still unknown, most plastic surgeons believe that these will cost significantly higher than the saline and silicone implan

Is there any disadvantage of using gummy bear breast implants?

Because of the cohesiveness of this new implant, doctors have to create incisions which are longer than the ones they use in saline and silicone implant surgery. For this reason, there is a higher risk of scarring.
California Surgical Institute offers a full range of plastic surgery procedures including gummy bear implants. For additional questions or to schedule your complimentary consultation, please call 866-372-3288. We offer 7 locations throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties) with plastic surgery offices in Beverly Hills, Brea, Upland, Pasadena, Newport Beach, Ontario and Riverside.