The Gummy Bear Breast Implant
Breast augmentation has evolved dramatically from its early days in the latter part of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th. The first procedure using the now-familiar silicone breast prothesis was performed in 1962. However, the surgery—and the implants—remained somewhat controversial in the medical field as an elective procedure because of real and perceived safety and health concerns.
Although silicone gel implants have been used for years, early versions were not approved by the FDA for unrestricted use; that is, they were only approved in situations of specific need, such as breast reconstruction. It was not until an extensive 10-year study conducted in the early 2000s that a form-stable silicone-gel implant—commonly referred to as the gummy bear implant—was approved by the FDA.
Types of breast implants
FDA-approved breast implant devices fall into one of two categories, based on the type of material they are filled with. Both have an outer silicone shell that helps maintain the shape of the breast, but they differ in material and structure.
Saline Breast Implants
These implants are filled with sterile salt water, which is absorbed and naturally expelled by the body in the event of a rupture. If the implants do rupture, the outer shell collapses, a warning sign that something a leak has occurred. They are FDA-approved for women 18 years or older.
Silicone Breast Implants
These devices are filled with a silicone gel. Unlike a saline implant, a leaking silicone gel implant will not collapse, and the gel may either remain in the implant shell or seep into the breast implant pocket. Because of this risk, women who receive silicone implants may be required to receive regular ultrasounds or MRI screenings to ensure they remain intact. Silicone implants are FDA-approved for women 22 years of age or older.
Cohesive Gel, or “Gummy Bear”. Gummy bear implants are also filled with silicone gel, but the gel is thicker and more form-stable than traditional silicone implants, giving them a more natural feel and look.
The Gummy Bear implant
Unlike traditional implants, the cohesive gel implant is anatomically shaped with a diverse range of position options. Thanks to 12 dimensional options—allowing for a combination of four different projections and three different heights—breast positioning can be truly individualized to each patient’s preference and desired silhouette. The form-stable implant is also textured, improving the device’s stability and position post-implantation.
Because of their individualized shape, gummy bear implants may require a larger incision than traditional implants. However, they have been shown to have lower rupture, wrinkling, and malposition rates than the traditional round implants.
The gummy bear implant study
As directed by the FDA, the pharmaceutical company Allergan conducted an extensive, 10-year study on its Natrelle gummy implant to determine the device’s long-term safety and performance. The Core Study, which was initiated in 2001, followed 715 women who voluntarily enrolled as study participants to receive the implants. The study’s low complication rates and high satisfaction rates led to the eventual FDA-approval of the devices for unrestricted use in 2013.
Dr. Tim R. Love was one of only 20 US plastic surgeons selected to participate in this historic study. His successful implantation procedure on the first US patient for the study directly led to the reintroduction of the implants to the US.
Dr. Love has remained at the forefront of breast augmentation techniques and procedures for more than 30 years, sponsoring four other groundbreaking studies submitted to the FDA. His experience and expertise make him one of the most highly-regarded plastic surgeons in the country, and he is consistently voted “Best Plastic Surgeon” in the Oklahoma City area.
Is breast augmentation right for you?
Although women pursue breast augmentation for a variety of reasons, it is a deeply personal decision and one that should not be made lightly. Breast augmentation can dramatically improve your self-esteem, self-image, and confidence, but, as with any invasive procedure, there are associated risks. Regardless of the type of implant, there is always a risk of implant leakage, rupture, or implant dislocation, all of which would require additional corrective surgery. There is also the risk of bleeding, infection, scarring, and changes in breast or nipple sensation or function.
Choosing the right plastic surgeon is as important as being informed. Your plastic surgeon should be committed to your health, your goals, and realistic expectations. Every body is different, so every breast implant surgery is different. Your plastic surgeon should tailor your treatment plan to your unique shape, making sure your results are as natural as possible.
If you are considering breast augmentation surgery, call our office today at 405.751.LOVE (5683) and schedule an initial consultation. Dr. Love is board-certified and offers a sensitive, professional approach to patient care that prioritizes your safety and satisfaction. His dedication to stunning aesthetics means your results will be seamless, flattering, and flawless.
Don’t wait another day for the body of your dreams. Contact us today and find out if you are a good candidate for gummy bear implants.