For several years now, word has “leaked out” that there is a new type of silicone gel breast implant available for breast augmentation and breast reconstruction that is the state of the art, “safe” and the one to request. My office has received countless calls regarding these implants and I am also frequently asked about them by patients during their consultations.
What are these implants called and how are they different?
Even more important: Are they available to use here?
The silicone breast implants that I am referring to have been labeled “gummy bear” implants because in some ways they have characteristics of the candy after which they were nicknamed. I’m sure that this doesn’t include taste though someone probably has already checked this aspect out. The major way that these silicone implants differ from earlier versions is that the gel is highly cohesive and form-stable which means that it resembles taffy rather than a viscous gel and maintains a stable shape.
These implants have been used in breast enlargements elsewhere since the early 1990’s. Extensive research on these implants has been performed both in this country and internationally but unfortunately they have not been cleared for broader usage here yet by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) although their approval may be imminent. (Note: Plastic surgeons in the United States have been under the impression for the last several years that FDA approval was imminently forthcoming … but we are still waiting.)
There are a few advantages of these form-stable silicone implants (as well as some disadvantages) over the present day cohesive gel silicone implants. They will last longer in general and there will be virtually no potential of “gel” migrating elsewhere. The risk of developing capsular contracture appears to be lower, somewhere around 3% versus 5 – 10% or more with the standard silicone implants.
The cost for these implants are yet unknown though they are expected to be significantly more expensive than the present day silicone implants. This may affect their popularity and selection to some extent. Ultimately, several factors will play a role in deciding which type of silicone implant would be the best choice.
If you would like more information on silicone gel breast implants, breast augmentation surgery or for any other plastic surgery procedure that I perform or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please call my office at 480-451-3000.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona