Differences Between “Gummy Bear” and Traditional Silicone Breast Implants
If you’re considering breast augmentation surgery, one of the key decisions you’ll face is the type of implant. A basic choice is between saline and silicone implants, and we won’t get into that here. If you’re leaning toward silicone implants, perhaps because of the more natural feel, another choice is now between traditional and gummy bear silicone breast implants.
What Are Gummy Bear Silicone Implants?
“Gummy bear” is the non-scientific term for form-stable or highly cohesive silicone gel implants. They are considered form-stable — and like gummy bears — because they hold their shape even when the implant shell is broken. The gel inside is thick, rather than liquid. Because they hold their form, gummy bear implants are made to a shape, either round or teardrop-shaped (tapered at the top and with more of a projection at the bottom). They add volume to the breasts while leaving them naturally soft to the touch.
How Are Gummy Bear Implants Different From Traditional Silicone Implants?
The difference from traditional silicone implants lies in the thicker consistency of the gummy bear implants’ gel. When compared with traditional implants, gummy bear implants are firmer, hold their shape better, and feel more natural to the touch. They simulate the feel of a young woman’s breast. Both gummy bear and traditional silicone implants are softer to the touch than saline implants.
For women undergoing breast reconstruction, gummy bear implants offer a unique advantage: They don’t have to be fit around the existing breast tissue.
There is also a small but important safety difference. One of the risks of early silicone implants came from rupture and the danger of the silicone leaking into surrounding breast tissue. That risk has been minimized with stronger implant shells. With gummy bear implants, the risk of leakage is even lower, as the gel is thick enough that it is less likely to spread even if the shell should break.
The surgery to place gummy bear implants requires a slightly longer incision in the skin than either traditional silicone or saline implants.
Finally, the cost of gummy bear implant surgery is usually higher than for traditional silicone implants.
Breast implants don’t last forever. Some implants may last for 20 or 30 years, but more likely yours will need to be replaced at some point. On average, implants are replaced or removed after 10 years. Some implants last longer than others, so be sure to ask about this when you plan a procedure with your doctor.
While the risk of rupture and leakage from gummy bear implants is lower than for traditional silicone implants when it does occur it can be harder to detect. When you get a silicone implant, traditional or gummy bear, you should be prepared to have it checked with an MRI three years after placement and then every two years for “silent leakage” — shell rupture that would otherwise go undetected.
Silicone implants, traditional and gummy bear, are approved by the FDA for breast augmentation for those ages 22 and older, or at any age for breast reconstruction following surgery or trauma. The procedure is not approved for women who are pregnant or nursing.
Your satisfaction with your implants will depend on the skill and experience of the plastic surgeon you choose. Dr. Stephen Bresnick, M.D., in Encino, CA, is one of the most extensively trained and highest-rated plastic surgeons offering procedures in the Los Angeles area. To schedule a consultation, call us at (818) 981-3333 today.