Gummy Bear Implants: The Next Breast Thing

They're not even on the market yet in the United States, but the gummy bear breast implants are already being touted by some as the next "wave" in breast augmentation.

In clinical trials in the U.S. for the last decade. The highly cohesive gel, formstable (a.ka. "gummy bear'), breast implants are available just about everywhere else.  They combine the safety of saline breast implants with the natural feel of silicone breast implants.  Silicone is a naturally occurring element found in sand, quartz, and rock that can be manufactured in the form of oils, gels, and solids.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration cleared new Sientra Inc.'s silicone breast implants for use in the U.S. This adds another competitor to versions of the product already offered by Allergan Inc. (AGN) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) unit Mentor Worldwide, LLC.  It is exciting to have another brand of implants available on the market to choose from!  Competition is a good thing.

Invented in the 1990's and widely used throughout the world since 2000, highly cohesive gel implants are manufactured by all three implant companies.  Allergan's 410, Mentor's CPG and Sientra's Nuance and Enhance.  Highly cohesive gel implants take the concept of a silicone implant a step further.  They're manufactured as a solid mass of silicone gel that's created by adding a cross-linker to the liquid gel to produce a tighter molecular bond.  The result is similar in consistency and feels like the small rubbery-textured, gelatin-based gummy bear candies, hence the nickname.  Cut a wedge out of a cohesive gel implant and it will maintain its shape, which is why these devices are described as being more "form stable".

These implants feel soft and supple,  maintain their shape well, display no visible implant line (rippling or folds), will not leak and pose less risk of capsular contracture.  On the down side they are are so form stable they impart their shape on the breast (tear drop shape), it requires a larger incision, if the pocket is too loose it could rotate and make the breast look distorted, and are currently more expensive than other gel or saline implants.

The real test of marketing for a new breast implant is the history.  After the first ten or twenty thousand patients have had them placed and five to ten years have passed.  So new implant products are in a gray zone.

Thousands of women annually choose to have breast augmentation, some saline, some silicone.  Breast implants are the most studied of all medical devices.  Gummy Bear or not, breast augmentation is the number one cosmetic surgery in the United States. The quest continues for the perfect device!

Martha Hahus, Clinical Nurse, Conkright Aesthetics

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