One of the more popular breast implant choices is gummy bear implants. The phrase “gummy bear implants” pertains to Sientra brand implants. Most patients are not aware of that and think gummy bear implants refer to any teardrop-shaped implants. Gummy bear implants are also known as cohesive gel silicone implants and they maintain their shape over a long period of time. As opposed to traditional silicone and saline implants that are subject to gravity and the breast shape of the patient, gummy bear implants have a distinct shape that the breast conforms to after they are placed. The breast will still have the original shape it did when it was placed. Thanks to the shape of the implant, there is less rippling, folds and little to no leakage.
Patients that are GOOD CANDIDATES for gummy bear implants are:
Those who are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES include:
Breast augmentation with gummy bear implants is usually an outpatient surgery which means the patient will not require a hospital stay following the procedure. General anesthesia is administered before a large horizontal incision is made along the crease of the breast. The incision is placed here so any scars are well hidden.
Once the incision is made, the surgeon creates a pocket for each breast where the gummy bear implants are placed behind, or above, the chest muscle. Placing them under the muscle is ideal as more skin and tissue will cover the implant. Once the breasts have a symmetrical appearance the incisions are closed using sutures.
The incision used in the placement of breast implants depends on the shape of the implants that will be used. Round and teardrop-shaped implants can be placed through any incision except within the armpit. The incision choices include:
Putting in a shaped implant requires a slightly longer incision than a round implant. Since shaped implants are less compressible, the surgeon cannot really squeeze it down to a small size to push it through a small incision. On the other hand, round implants can be squeezed down to a very small size (with the edge fed into the incision) and then the surgeon will push the entire implant in place.
Saline implants are more prone to rippling and tend to be heavier than silicone implants even though they have the same volume. The heavier an implant is, the more likely it can cause tissue stretching and sagging. Saline implants feel firmer because they are less compressible but they are associated with a fairly high capsular contracture rate. From an aesthetic standpoint, surgeons agree silicone implants are softer, feel more like the natural breast, do not weigh as much and do not stretch the tissues out as much.
If a saline implant ruptures, the body will absorb the saline. The patient will know if she has an implant problem because her breasts will get smaller. Because the substance is so thick in silicone implants, it is not going to seep out so the breast size and shape is not going to change. The patient will not know there is a tear in the silicone implant unless she gets an MRI.
The cost of gummy bear breast implants varies from surgeon to surgeon. The cost also depends on the area of the country where the procedure is performed and any fees charged by the doctor or the facility. In general, the cost for gummy bear implants ranges from $3000-$7500 per pair.
The RECOVERY time depends on whether the implant is placed under or over the muscle. If the implant is placed under the muscle, the muscle may experience spasms and cause some discomfort. Recovery from under the muscle implants usually takes longer. Surgeons may recommend muscle relaxants and/or other medications to help ease any spasms. Patients will wear bandages and compressions garments, for a time period determined by the surgeon, to help maintain any swelling after the surgery. A teardrop-shaped implant requires at least 6 weeks recovery because it has to stay in its proper orientation to get ideal results. For implants that are underneath the muscle, any pectoral exercises should be avoided for 12 weeks because the muscle will just push on the implant and move it around in the pocket.
Patients are also advised to take it easy during their DOWNTIME following the surgery. They should avoid heavy lifting or other strenuous exercises for at least two weeks. After that, they can resume normal daily activities when cleared to do so by their doctor.
Initially, there will be some swelling and the breasts may feel a little stiffer. As the swelling goes down and the tissues relax, the implant will start to feel softer and more natural. With round implants, there may be an excessive fullness in the upper breast that takes several months to settle. On the other hand, shaped implants generally take a little longer to begin feeling super soft.
In general, gummy bear implants can last 10-20 years before needing to be replaced. The length of time they last depends on the patient maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as following any post-op instructions.
The limitations of gummy bear implants include:
Some of the potential risks of gummy bear implants are:
Gummy bear implants maintain their shape over a long period of time and give patients a more youthful appearance. The variety of breast implant options might be confusing to some people so scheduling a consultation with a board-certified surgeon is an important first step in the process. While gummy bear implants are popular, they might not be the best choice due to the current breast size of the patient. The doctor will discuss the various breast implant choices with the patient to determine if gummy bear implants are the best option to achieve the desired results.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team- AA
Based on an exclusive interview with Dr. Tracy Pfeifer in New York, NY