Gummy bear breast implants have undergone clinical trial investigations in the United States for much of the last decade. Those clinical trials are now closed and the FDA is currently evaluating the data. Both existing U.S. breast implant manufacturers, Mentor and Allergan, have conducted clinical trials with their versions of the gummy bear implant. Mentor’s implant is known as the CPG, Allergan’s is known as the 410. The manufacturer’s do not use the term gummy bear, that is a plastic surgery and layman’s term. These newer breast implants may be available for patient use later this year.
The gummy bear implant is not just a cute nickname. Rather it speaks to the unique nature of the filler material. It is soft and pliant but firm and strong. Most importantly, it will not run or leak from the implant as it is form-stable since it is not a liquid or loose gel. Because of its unique silicone gel form, it has numerous characteristics that have certain breast augmentation. advantages and disadvantages.
Less risk of rupture and no risk of silicone leakage is undoubtably the main advantage of the gummy bear implant concept. If this type of implant ruptures it will actually hold itself together. Unlike the original silicone implants, this implant has a thick outer shell and for all practical purposes can not leak. This advantage can not be debated. Whether they will end up being more durable (not needing to be replaced over one’s lifetime) remains to be seen but it theoretically appears that it should.
One of the other main advantages that has been given to this type of breast implant is that they will look and feel more natural. They are better at holding their shape. They are more resistant to wrinkling and folding over time and have next to no rippling. Due to their composition they will tend to remain in an upright position and are less likely to sag.The density of the silicone composition makes the implant feel much more like the natural tissue of your breast. Feel and natural looking are more subjective assessments and it is not really clear how they differ from the cohesive gel implants that we currently implant.
The stiffness of this implant makes the choice of access incisions limited. Only the lower breast crease incision (inframammary fold) can be used. The resultant scar will be a bit larger to allow the stiffer implant to fit through it. Incision locations like the armpit, nipple or belly button can definitely not be used.
The shape of a gummy bear implant will be anatomical, meaning that it has tear drop shape. This is also why it needs to be placed from the lower breast fold so there is no turning of the implant causing a postoperatively misshapen breast. This shape may be desireable for some patients but for those that want a fuller rounder breast look, this preformed shape will be a disadvantage.
While the gummy bear implant is not yet commercially available, it is fair to say that it will have some increased cost to use over the current silicone gel breast implants.
While gummy bear implants for breast augmentation has certain advantages, its disadvantages make it not desireable for all women. Its advantages are borne at the expense of having a textured tear-drop shaped implant placed with a resultant lower breast fold scar.
Dr. Barry Eppley