Silicone Gel Shaped “Gummy Bear” Breast Implants
“Gummy bear implants,” such MemoryShape from Mentor and Sientra implants, are among the most talked-about silicone breast implants available today.
The gel in a traditional silicone implant has a give to it. When the implant is in the vertical position, the gel gradually shifts toward the bottom; therefore silicone gel does not perform well in a shaped implant.
In contrast, the silicone in gummy bear implants is form stable, meaning it holds its shape. The silicone gel does not flow, the implant has an anatomic (tear-drop) shape, and it maintains its shape in all positions. The shell does not fold, either. Thus the upper pole remains full even in the upright position and there is minimal rippling.
Why are these implants called gummy bear implants?
Made with highly cohesive silicone gel, the implants have a consistency that was previously unavailable in any breast implant. Most silicone breast implants have a silicone gel that feels like thick Jell-O, while highly cohesive implants feel more like a gummy bear. For this reason, people have nick-named them “gummy bear implants.”
What are the benefits of form-stable implants?
All silicone gel breast implants used today are termed cohesive. This is because they are more cohesive than the older silicone implants, which had a more liquid gel. However, highly cohesive silicone implants are form stable—the gel inside has some give when pressed, but it will hold its form in any position.
Highly cohesive silicone implants have a number of benefits:
- Less occurrence of capsular contracture
- Less occurrence of rippling
- The implant maintains its shape and cannot be deformed by gravitational forces
- Early study results show a reduced incidence of leakage rates
These implants are generally a good option for:
- Primary breast augmentation for patients with little natural breast tissue
- Breast reconstruction
- Revision augmentation
- Mastopexy/augmentation (augmentation with lift)
- Replacement of ruptured saline or silicone implant
Potential considerations with form-stable implants
Teardrop-shaped form-stable implants need to stay oriented in a specific position in the breast to maintain a natural appearance—we don’t want them to rotate or flip around. Therefore, they have a textured shell, which helps the surrounding breast tissue “grab on” to the implant as the capsule forms and to hold it in place.
In recent years, textured breast implant shells have been associated with a very rare form of immune cell cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL. The risk of developing this disease after having textured implants is estimated to be between 1 in 3817 and 1 in 30,000, or between 0.003 and 0.025%, with Allergan’s Biocell textured implants having the highest associated risk.
While this risk is very low, it is something I want my patients to be informed about. It is also one reason why, in most cases of primary breast augmentation, I will recommend smooth, round breast implants. For patients who will benefit from shaped implants, I use those from Mentor or Sientra, which have been shown to carry a lower risk of BIA-ALCL.
As of July 24, 2019, Allergan’s Biocell textured implants (410, Natrelle saline textured, and other devices with Biocell texturing) have been recalled in the U.S.
Gummy bear silicone breast implants offer great flexibility in size and style
All textured implants come with an anatomical shape to match your natural body characteristics. Mentor MemoryShape implants come in six different height/profile combinations, and Sientra implants come in three shapes (round, teardrop, and oval).
The implant height can be low, moderate or full. The projection can be low, moderate, full or extra full. Within each style, there are many different volume (size) options. The range of choices allows great flexibility and Dr. Hess can customize the implant size and dimensions according to your individual measurements and appearance goals.
Gummy Bear Implants in the Washington DC/Virginia area
If you’re interested in a consultation for “gummy bear” implants in Northern Virginia, or you need help determining the ideal breast implant choice for you, contact us! Dr. Hess will go over all your options and help you decide what’s right for you.