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The Truth About Gummy Bear Breast Implants

The Truth About Gummy Bear Breast ImplantsMuch has been written about the latest (as in fifth) generation of silicone breast implants, highly cohesive get implants. And, one surgeon wryly dubbed them as “gummy bear” implants. While a cute moniker, it is a bit misleading.

When you think about a gummy bear what do you envision? We have all had these great little candies – they are a favorite of my wife. They were created by a German confectioner, Hans Riegel in Bonn Germany, in 1920. His company Haribo continues to make the yummy little candies which are known as Gummibärchen. But I digress.

What you probably think of when you think about these candies is that they are a soft, chewy, solid little nugget of goodness. And I would agree. The point that I am making here is that these are solid candies. Soft, but solid with a solid consistency throughout and there is no outer shell.

So, it might logical to assume that, like the candies, the fifth generation, highly cohesive silicone gel implants – which have been referred to as “ gummy bears” would also be solid. Right?

They are not solid.
The “gummy bear” implants are not solid. Just like the fourth generation cohesive get implants, the highly cohesive gel implants are also made of a semi-solid gel contained within an outer shell. It’s just that the gel in these implants is more cohesive than the others, but not as solid as the moniker “gummy bear” might imply.

It is important to pause for a moment and note that none of the manufacturers of these fifth generation implants (Sientra (aka Silmed), Allergan, and Mentor) have referred to their implants as “gummy bears” or said that the implants are a solid material. It was a plastic surgeon who gave them this name.

Here’s what happened when I cut into one.
Recently, in the operating room, I had the occasion to remove a set of these implants. And, being curious, at the end of the case I cut into one of them. Honestly, if I had not known that these highly cohesive gel implants (fifth generation), I would have thought that they were just regular cohesive get implants (fourth generation) which I have also cut into on occasion. Because inside the shell was a semi-solid, viscous silicone gel. Nothing solid about it.

All implants can rupture.
The reason that this is important is what you be inferring from the term “gummy bear.” If you are thinking that the implant is a solid, you would assume that it can never rupture. This would be wrong. Like the preceding generations of implants, these can rupture as well. The gel will probably stay together a little better, but they can still rupture.

It is also important to note that there is no danger to your health with the rupture of any of these implants. But if you are drawn to the fifth generation, “gummy bear” implants thinking that they will never rupture, and therefore may last forever, you are being misled.

Whether or not these implants are the best ones for you is something you will have to determine with the help of your plastic surgeon. I think both the fourth and fifth generation implants are good devices although I use more of the fourth generation implants because they are a bit softer, and I think they feel more natural. They are also significantly less expensive than the fifth generation breast implants.

Just remember that both are gel implants, and neither will last forever.

All the best,

Dr. David B. Reath

David B. Reath, M.D.

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12 Responses to The Truth About Gummy Bear Breast Implants

  • David B. Reath, MD says:

    The “gummy bear” implants are more expensive than the normal silicone implants. The cost difference is about $1000.
    Recovery time from breast augmentation is about a week for normal activities. A little longer for more strenuous work.
    All the best,
    David B.

  • David B. Reath, MD says:

    For most patients, I prefer the normal cohesive gel silicone implants and not the highly cohesive (gummy bear) silicone implants. They are softer, and less expensive.
    David B.

  • Trisha Hamor says:

    I have had my implants for 5 years now and I LOVE them… I have know many of my friends who get implants but I’m glad I went with the higher end of them… I was a 34 A and went up to a 34 DD … one thing I can say is I have lost a lot of sensitivity. For instance when i had my first daughter before I had implants I could not nurse I felt it was to painful and uncomfortable but after I had implants (under the muscle) i found nursing my 2ed child was fine.

  • Nikki says:

    Hello! In the comments, you said you preferred silicone over gummy bear because they’re softer and less expensive. One factor that drew my attention towards the gummy bear implant is the gradual slope it has to make the breast look natural instead of the full, round implant. Is silicone also available in the gradual tapered slope form?

  • Dr. David B. Reath says:

    Thanks for your question. The highly cohesive gel (aka “gummy bear”) implants have a tear drop type shape. But these implants are asymmetric and can rotate if not placed properly. They are also more expensive and slightly firmer than the normal cohesive gel implants.

    If you look at a “round” cohesive gel implant when it is flat, it appears round. When it is upright, it will take on a sloped or natural look which is what a natural breast will do. However the tear drop or shaped implants will always be fuller at the base whether upright or lying down.

    Because of this, I feel that the normally cohesive gel implants are more natural-looking. They do not have the over fullness of the top of the breast like saline implants will have (unless you are going overly big on the size).
    All the best,

    David B. Reath, MD

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you for the post! It really helped clear up the real difference between the two. I had found it so hard to understand before. I have one question, how much breast tissue is needed in front to avoid the behind the muscle placement? I may be wrong but it seems to look more natural. Thanks

  • David B. Reath, MD says:

    I’m glad this was helpful. Much of what has been written makes this whole thing a bit difficult to understand.
    In order to have implants on top of the muscle, I really like someone to be about a B cup. This can vary, of course, and I would always need to see someone to know for sure.
    All the best,
    David B. Reath, MD

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