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Gummy Bears, but Not the Candy Sort

Breast Augmentation | Severna Park MDThere’s a good chance you may have received a few chewy little-colored bears in your stocking over the holidays: gummy bears. Everyone loves these brightly colored little guys that originated over in Germany.

But when it comes to breast augmentation with Dr. Mallalieu you can also opt for gummy bears — gummy bear implants.

While technically silicone, gummy bear implants are almost a third kind of implant, joining silicone and saline as options. At the Laser Center of Maryland we like our patients to be as informed about our procedures and their choices as possible, so here’s some more information on gummy bear implants.

What are a gummy bear implants?

If you’ve been doing some research on breast augmentation, you’ve probably come across gummy bear implants. These implants retain their shape, unlike other implant choices, because the gel is thicker than traditional silicone implants. In addition to “gummy bear implants,it is being investigated by the FDA” they are also known as cohesive, form-stable, or highly cohesive. These terms denote the attributes of these implants made by three companies:  Sientra, Allergan, and Mentor. Currently,the FDA is investigating it for overseas manufacturing practices.

Cohesive silicone gel

The term “cohesive” is a bit of a misnomer. All current silicone implants use gel that is far more cohesive than what was used in the 80s and early 90s. Only the most cohesive, i.e. thicker, is used to fill gummy bear implants. To get an idea of the density, if a cohesive implant is cut in half, there is no gross movement of gel, and the implant maintains its shape.

Teardrop shape

Cohesive breast implants are anatomically shaped to match the natural breast, which projects more at the bottom than at the top. The teardrop shape is thinner at the top, filling out more at the bottom. This form maintains itself due to the thicker nature of the cohesive gel.

All gummy bear implants are textured. This texturing increases friction and helps keep the implants from rotating. This is critical because these implants are different at the bottom and the top, so maintaining their position is a necessity.

Safety

There are unknowns with gummy bear implants due to their relatively short time in use. Although their production has been halted, Sientra cites five years of study with its gummy bear implants. Here are some statistics.

  • Low rate (3.9%) of capsular contracture
  • Over 98% rupture-free through five years
  • Zero reported incidences of implant rotation

Long-term studies of durability don’t exist yet, however. Like traditional implants, gummy bear implants can rupture, although the gel tends to stay close to the implant. Rippling is far less prevalent with cohesive implants than with traditional silicone implants, although this is usually related to how much tissue is atop the implant.

While you’re doing your research about augmentation, be sure to include cohesive gel/gummy bear implants. Call the team at the Laser Center of Maryland and ask us any questions you may have, 410-544-4600.

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