The FDA has recently approved the “gummy bear” breast implant which has been in the pipeline for almost ten years. The popular name “gummy bear” stems from the fact that the silicone gel in the implant is of very high cohesion, meaning that it is less likely to leak. Furthermore, if it does leak, the silicone is far less likely to spread beyond the area in which it was inserted. Traditional silicone gel implants which we have been using for the past decade have a higher cohesion than those of the past. These new implants, however, have a much higher cohesiveness. There should be less folding, less of a chance of leakage, perhaps less migration of gel after a leak, and possibly greater longevity.

There are advantages and disadvantages of using traditional silicone gel implants as opposed to the gummy bear (Allergan’s Natrelle Style 410).

  • Patient selection is critical.
  • Some breast types and anatomical differences are better using one or the other.
  • The gummy bear implant is slightly firmer and depending on the breast tissue type, this may be an issue in deciding which implant to use.
  • A slightly larger incision must be made because the gummy bear implant is not as compressible.
  • Lower capsular contracture rate is reported with the gummy bear implant.
  • The anatomic shape may be advantageous is some breast types.
  • Contrary to popular belief, cohesive implants can break. They appear to do so less often than regular silicone implants, but they are not unbreakable. If the shell is disrupted, cohesive implants can leak. Their gel is much thicker than that of standard implants, so the gel tends to stay around the implants. But it is a misnomer that these implants cannot leak.
  • Shape may be advantageous is some breast types.

As with any surgical procedure, a thorough evaluation and discussion must be had between patient and surgeon in order to maximize the outcome of breast augmentation with any of the choices now available.

Click here for more information on Natrelle (PDF: 11MB).