New silicone breast implants

It has now been six years since silicone breast implants have been back on the market in the US after a hiatus of nearly fifteen years. The scares about silicone breast implants for breast augmentation causing health problems related to autoimmune diseases have been proven false. Now there is a new gummy bear silicone breast implant that has come on the market.

gummy bear implant photo

Why silicone breast implants?

I have written about breast enlargement with silicone implants in the past. I have also written about gummy bear breasts implants when they were first being experimented on. Now, finally, they are available for all board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeons to use.

Gummy bear vs cohesive gel silicone breast implants

Silicone breast implants

In 2012, over 70% of breast enlargements were performed by plastic surgeons using silicone implants and 30% with saline implants. The reasons for the use of silicone breast implants instead of saline breast implants depend on many factors, including:

  • patient wishes
  • plastic surgeon preference
  • patient tissue thickness
  • need for MRI of implants
  • size of implantation scar
  • feel of implants

Old and new silicone implants

The “old-standard” silicone breast implants are made with a silicone gel that has a certain fluidity. Modern silicone breast implants are different. In the past, the silicone gel flowed all over if the implant was ruptured. The current silicone gel used in breast implants has the consistency of silicone used for caulking! It holds its shape but still moves around.

The newest form of stable silicone breast implants made by Allergan and Mentor corporations has the consistency of gelatin or “gummy bears.” You can cut the implants but they maintain their shape.

Differences with gummy bear silicone breast implants

As opposed to regular silicone implants, the new form-stable silicone breast implants or “gummy bear”  breast implants have several differences to be considered.

Pre-operative measurements

These are critical when using the new silicone implants. The size of the chest, thickness of the skin and shape of the breasts will determine whether the patient is a candidate for the use of gummy bear implants. Many patients are not candidates for these implants but are candidates for standard silicone implants.

Shape of breast implant

The new implants have a tapered shape and are thinner at the top.

Size of breast incision

For the new gummy bear implants, the size of the incision has to be at least 2.5 inches to prevent fracture of the breast implant during insertion into the chest wall.

Size of breast pocket

As opposed to a normal silicone breast implant that moves freely within the created breast pocket, the gummy bear implants are designed to stay in place and not move other than from the natural compression of the implant. The pocket is thus much smaller.

Texture of implant

The gummy bear implants have a textured implant to prevent rotation or movement. The implant will not move down after surgery. Recently though these textured implants have been shown to have a higher rate of a special type of lymphosarcoma (cancer) associated with them and are no longer used. Or should not be used in my opinion.

Postoperative care

As opposed to regular silicone implants, which require massage of the breasts, the gummy bear implants should not be massaged.

The new gummy bear implants will have a very specific use in a limited number of cosmetic plastic surgery patients interested in breast augmentation but may find more use in reconstructive patients. There are few reasons I see for changing to the new implants other than a possible decrease in rupture rate. I’ll wait and see what happens for now, though I already passed the exam to use them.

Morad Tavallali, M.D., FACS