Gummy Bear Breast Implants

When considering breast augmentation today, there are numerous implant choices. Many women choose silicone breast implants because of their more natural feel and to avoid the risk of a spontaneous deflation with saline implants. When considering the silicone option, take a closer look at gummy bear implants, the very newest development in silicone implants. You will discover that they are more than a cute nickname. Come in and talk to Dr. Barry Eppley, board-certified, Indianapolis plastic surgeon, and see if this new type of breast implant is for you.

The name, gummy bear, is given to this breast implant because of how its inner material looks and feels. Unlike a liquid or a typical gel material, this new silicone gel is more cohesive and firm which is why it is called a form stable implant. They feel soft and pliable but strong and cohesive as well. Like those cute candy bears, you can push, pull and even cut the material and it won't lose its shape. The benefit of this type of breast implant is that there is no fear of any implant material getting out of the breast pocket and it is a longer-lasting breast implant that keeps its shape over time.

Breast augmentation is an implant-driven operation. Implant selection is one of several factors that can make a difference in the outcome of the surgery. Patients usually think it is the most important part of the procedure but other issues, including incision location and pocket dissection, are very important as well.

When it comes to implants, silicone-filled re-emerged in 2006 as another option along with saline breast implants. While silicone gel has certain advantages, it is not perfect and continued development of new silicone gel implants has been ongoing. The gummy bear breast implant, also known as the 410 (Allergan) or CPG (Mentor) has undergone a lot of clinical study and evaluation. One of its touted benefits is that it is form-stable. This is defined as an implant that will maintain its dimensions and form in any position. While this appears to be true when holding the implant in one’s hands, whether it behaves similarly in the body has never been studied.

In the January 2011 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a study out of Norway evaluated the form stability of the 410 anatomically shaped cohesive silicone gel-filled breast implants after augmentation in humans. A small number of women (9) who had undergone subglandular breast augmentation with 410 implants were examined laying down, both face up (supine) and face down (prone) positions with MRIs. When laying face up, the dimensions of the implants were unchanged from that seen outside the body and those specified by the manufacturer in their catalog and box diagram. In the prone or face down position, there was an increase of nearly 30% in implant projection. The area of maximal projection for all implants was in the lower pole in both supine and prone positions.

While the 410 implant is called form-stable, there is a change in form depending upon one’s body posture. Perhaps surprisingly, there was a significant increase in projection in the prone position indicating the degree of silicone gel cohesiveness does allow for some change in the shape of the implant due to body posture. The term form stable must be used cautiously as this is not true in the most purest use of the word.

In reality, patients and plastic surgeons alike are most interested in the shape of any breast implant in the upright position. MRIs today do not allow for examination in the standing patient so one can only assume that the projection of the lower pole of the 410 implant will show more projection than when laying down. (based on the differences between the supine and prone positions) In an anatomically-shaped implant, that is an important consideration for patients to know when considering the implant selection for their breast augmentation, particularly in the subglandular (above the muscle) position.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana