Gummy bear breast implants are one of the options available for breast augmentation. The term “gummy bear” is actually a nickname for these teardrop-shaped, gel-based implants. They’re known to retain their shape better than other types of breast implants made from saline and silicone.
Introduced in the mid-2000s, gummy bear, also known as highly cohesive gel, breast implants are the result of an evolved product that’s technically been around for more than a century.
You may be a good candidate for this surgery if you want more volume in your breasts without the extreme shape of other implants. This procedure isn’t approved for women who are pregnant or nursing. Silicone implants are also only approved for those ages 22 or older.
A breast implant contains an outer silicone shell and a filler material. Most breast implants contain either silicone gel or saline solution.
Gummy bear breast implants have both a silicone shell and a silicone gel filling. Their advantage, compared with other silicone implants, is that gummy bear implants retain their shape but also leave breasts naturally soft to the touch.
Unlike traditional silicone-based breast implants, gummy bear implants retain their shape even if their shells are broken. This is because the gel is thicker.
Another popular type of breast implant is saline-based. Unlike thick gummy bear and traditional silicone gel implants, saline breast implant shells are filled with salt solution, or saline.
After years of evaluation, breast implants are considered safe. Your doctor will order regular screenings to make sure your implants remain in the right place and haven’t ruptured.
In the past, breast implants carried a greater risk of rupture and related complications. When ruptured, gel material could ooze out of the shell and into the surrounding tissue.
Due to their strength, gummy bear implants are less likely to rupture and leak compared with other silicone gel and saline forms. The risk, however, is that if gummy bear implants do leak, it’s harder to detect the leak than with saline implants. This is why screenings are important to detect any problems. For silicone implants, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends surveillance MRIs 3 years after they are placed and every 2 years thereafter.
Like other types of breast implants, the overall goal of gummy bear implants is to improve shape and size. One downside to this type of breast augmentation is that the surgeon may have to make a longer incision, which can increase the risk of visible scarring.
Breast augmentation doesn’t address droopiness. If this is your primary concern, you may want to talk to a surgeon about a breast lift instead.
Round versus teardrop-shaped implants
Traditional saline and silicone implants tend to offer a round shape. There won’t be any problems if the implants rotate at some point in the future, as most implants tend to do.
Gummy bear implants are teardrop-shaped. They’re also thicker or denser compared with the other two popular types of implants. This option may be preferable if you’re seeking less fullness in the upper part of your breast, as well as a more natural droop to the bottom half. However, it will be more noticeable if the implants rotate out of place since they aren’t the same shape on all sides.
To prevent the rotating or shifting of these shaped implants, the shell of the gummy bear implant is typically textured, which allows the tissue around it to grow into it, somewhat like Velcro.
These shaped, textured implants have been shown to have a lower rate of a complication called capsular contracture. This occurs when the tissue around the breast implant gets abnormally tight or thick, causing asymmetry, pain, and an unpleasant appearance. Capsular contracture is one of the most common surgical complications related to breast augmentation and is a common reason for reoperation.
Breast augmentation procedures aren’t typically covered by insurance. Instead, they’re paid out-of-pocket. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the national average for breast augmentation procedures was $3,718 in 2017.
Gummy bear implants are far more expensive. One provider offers an estimate between $6,000 to $12,000. Factors include your doctor, their technique, and office location.
It’s also important to keep in mind that there may be other costs related to gummy bear breast implants outside of the actual surgery. These include hospital and anesthesia fees, as well as the clothing items you’ll need during recovery. It’s a good idea to verify all of these costs ahead of time.
You’ll also need to factor in recovery time. It can take up to several weeks to fully recover from the surgery.
While gummy bear implants have noteworthy results, there are risks associated with any procedure. All breast augmentation surgeries carry the risk for:
- nipple sensation changes
- rupturing of the implant
- nausea and vomiting from anesthesia
- wrinkling of breast tissues
Other serious side effects have been reported, including severe nausea, back pain, and weight loss.
In 2011, the FDA found a link between breast implants and a type of rare cancer known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma. The exact causes of this cancer aren’t understood but textured implants may be linked to more cases than smooth implants.
It’s also important to know that the results from breast implants aren’t permanent. Aside from the risk of implant rupturing, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that breast implants aren’t made to last for life. You’ll likely need surgery to replace them in the future. On average, women replace or remove implants after 10 years. The longer you have breast implants, the more likely you’ll experience side effects in the future.
A stable body weight is preferable before you have this type of surgery. Any significant changes in your weight can change the appearance of your breasts.
The teardrop shape of gummy bear implants is an option if you don’t want the roundness of other implants. However, these do carry a risk of rotation at some point. If this happens, your breasts can have an irregular shape until your surgeon either fixes the implants or replaces them.
Gummy bear implants are believed to be more durable and might last longer than alternatives. Still, this durability comes at a cost, as gummy bear implants are more expensive than their other silicone- and saline-based counterparts. They also aren’t risk-free so it’s important to find an experienced, reputable surgeon.