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Cohesive Gel & Gummy Bear Implants: What’s the difference?

Breast Implants. There are saline filled ones, silicone filled ones, and silicone gummy bear implants. A lot of my patients are confused about silicone vs gummy bear silicone so I thought I’d try and explain. The term “Gummy Bear” implant has been used for years and most often it is applied to the silicone gel filled implants that both Mentor and Allergan have had on the market since the fall of 2006. The problem is that these implants are not really gummy bear implants. Today’s silicone implants are filled with what the industry refers to as a ‘cohesive gel’. Without getting too technical, what this means is that the individual silicone molecules are so extensive cross linked to one another that the gel is a solid. The older implants from the 1980’s and early 1990’s were filled with a gel that was syrup consistency. Today’s implants are more like Jello. If you cut the outer shell of today’s implant, because the silicone is so cross linked, the gel doesn’t leak out. But that is not what a true gummy bear implant is.

The true gummy bear implants are best known amongst plastic surgeons as Allergan’s series 410 implants. These implants are the true Gummy Bear implants. Mentor also has brought a similar implant to market. Both of the implants have been on the market for about a year or so. Now these implants are even more extensively cross linked than your standard implant. They are more firm than a normal implant, more solid feeling, and will hold their shape better. The ‘problem’ with the 410 series is that they are very expensive. One 410 costs more than two standard silicone implants. In order to place the implants a much larger incision has to be made, almost twice the size of a standard gel implants. Finally, because the implants are shaped, if they were to rotate on you after your surgery, your breast will have an unusual shape and this will require additional surgery to correct the implant orientation.

Both implants are very, very good products and can give you a lovely result. You just need to work with your surgeon to decide which implant is best for you given your starting point and your goals.

Lee E. Corbett, MD
Medical Director: Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

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