Ask the Expert

Gummy Bear Implants

Question: I just heard about something called “gummy bear” breast implants. What are they and how are they different from other implants?

Answer: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the sale of form-stable breast implants. These implants are designed to look like a teardrop. They are thicker at the bottom and tapered towards the top. To maintain this shape, the silicone gel in the implant is firmer than what is used in a round implant. The consistency of the gel inside the implant is thicker and maintains its shape even when the implant is cut in half. Like a gummy bear, the gel does not flow out when cut.

These form-stable implants have been used extensively in Europe and only recently have been available for use in the U.S. These implants offer another option for women desiring breast reconstruction or augmentation surgery. Like all implants, they have advantages and disadvantages. A possible advantage is that these teardrop implants match the shape of the natural breast. They are firmer, so less wrinkling is expected, and they are textured with a rough surface. Some data suggests that potential hardening of an implant is decreased in textured implants.

Disadvantages include possible rotation of the implant within the breast pocket. As the gel is firmer, a longer incision may be necessary to allow insertion of these implants. Some patients do not like the firm feel of these form-stable implants. Like other implants, they carry the same risks of possible infection, bleeding and rupture over time.

When considering any implant, talk with a plastic surgeon about the benefits and potential risks of your available choices to determine what is best for you.

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