Gummy Bear Implants: Not For Chewing!

Over the last year gummy bear implants have gained widespread popularity. More and more women are choosing silicone implants over saline implants and, among those, 'gummy bear' implants in particular.  After careful consideration and review of the long-term studies with this fifth generation implant, I decided this type of implant made more sense for most of my patients, so this implant is now the standard silicone option at JW Plastic Surgery. (Of course, we also offer saline implants for those who prefer that option.) Overall, the ‘gummy bear’ implant is more cohesive and longer lasting than the previous generation of silicone implants. Women are often intrigued because this implant is always accompanied by an image of a gummy bear. This implant is certainly not edible, but the consistency is similar to what you would experience if you cut a gummy bear candy in half. Naturally the name stuck but scientifically there’s a lot more to it.

The gummy bear implant, like all silicone implants, is an implant with a silicone outer shell that is filled with a silicone gel. The silicone used in these implants is ‘form- stable’ versus simply cohesive. The standard gels have a soft flow allowing the implant shape to be more malleable. Form-stable implants, like the gummy bear, have negligible flow compared with standard gel implants and maintain their shape. Silicone flow in gummy bear implants is minimized by creating higher cross-linking of the silicone molecules.  This results in negligible 'bleed' of the gel with an intact implant and minimal 'migration' of the gel should the implant rupture.

I am often asked why we made the switch to gummy bear implants at JW Plastic Surgery. My decision was carefully based on scientific data, surgical results, and overall patient preference for this type of implant, especially as of late. We decided that gummy bear implants are a better option for most of our patients after reviewing a study that demonstrated that gummy bear implants last much longer than traditional silicone implants. In fact, these were found to last 14 years before the incidence of rupture slowly rose.  We have found that gummy bear implants seem to have a decreased risk of issues commonly associated with implants, including capsular contracture, implant ruptures, and rippling. Additionally, breast shape is improved and patient satisfaction is higher with these implants – and we are all for that.

At JW Plastic Surgery, we continue to special order other silicone implant types as individualized patient needs and requests warrant such, but we feel it is appropriate to use gummy bear implants as the standard option as in most cases it is the best option for our patients. JW Plastic Surgery also offers saline implants for women who are not good candidates for silicone implants, or simply do not want them. Each patient has her own preferences, concerns and goals so it is important that the appropriate implant be selected in each case based on these criteria.

Typically, women with good breast symmetry and the desire to increase the size of their breasts are generally good candidates for gummy bear implants. It is my job to remain current with new methods and techniques in the field while ensuring they are valid, safe and effective approaches before offering them to my patients. Rarely do new technologies conjure up images of food but if it makes good scientific and clinical sense, and as long as my patients are happy, I don’t mind. In fact, I think I will ask my practice manager to place a bowl filled with gummy bears in the waiting room.  Who doesn't enjoy chewing on a gummy bear?

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Got Questions? Ask Dr. Jeff!

Send them to: jweinzweig@jwplasticsurgery.com

Please note that unless you are actually my patient, in which case I have seen and evaluated you at JW Plastic Surgery, then I am technically not your doctor. These posts and responses to inquiries are provided for educational and entertainment purposes but cannot apply to any individual patient who has not been directly evaluated by myself or another Board-certified plastic surgeon.

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