Teardrop shaped breast implants, commonly referred to as Gummy Bears, are becoming more popular nowadays after the two major manufacturers, Sientra and Allergan, both got their FDA approvals recently.
Gummy Bear Breast Implants are fantastic devices, but they aren’t for everyone. They have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages when compared to traditional round silicone breast implants, so make sure you have all the facts before you take the plunge and commit to one or the other.
Keep reading for more info on Shaped (Anatomic) Gummy Bear Breast Implants…
What’s so great about gummy breast breast implants anyway?
- The silicone gel is solid, not liquid. Because the silicone in modern day breast implants is solid, leaks are essentially a thing of the past. Don’t let the term ‘solid’ fool you though… even though it’s solid, the gel is incredibly soft and natural feeling.
- The silicone gel is highly-cohesive. The term “highly-cohesive” refers to the silicone’s ability to stick to itself which keeps it in one place even if the shell around the gel core becomes damaged. As you can see in the video below where a silicone implant has literally been cut in half in our office, the gel inside the shell stays in one place even when the implant is squeezed and shaken. The gel always returns to it’s original position no matter what happens to it.
- The silicone gel is form stable. The newest teardrop gummy bear implants are form stable devices, which means that the gel is even more highly cohesive than traditional round implants. That means that not only the does the gel stick to itself, it also keeps its shape inside the implant shell no matter what force is placed on it. Some see this as a major advantage of the teardrop implants, but others don’t, so make sure you ask your surgeon whether or not he thinks this will meet your goals.
Which women are the best candidates for teardrop shaped gummy bear breast implants?
- Women who want the most natural shape possible. Teardrop shaped implants are the ultimate in terms of a natural slope to the breast, but many women find it a little too natural, so make sure you have a visual definition of what the word ‘natural’ means to you before your consultation. That word means very different things to everyone, so it’s important that you be as specific as possible when discussing this issue with your plastic surgeon.
- Women who don’t have any natural breast tissue. Teardrop breast implants have the majority of their volume at the bottom of the implant so this is where the greatest amount of stretching occurs. This is an advantage for women who literally have no natural breast tissue and no definition of their inframammary folds (creases under the breasts).
- Women who have significant asymmetry of their breasts and chest wall. Teardrop shaped implants offer a much greater range of dimensions for your surgeon to use to correct significant asymmetry, especially if one breast is significant wider or narrower than the opposite side, or if the inframammary folds are in very different spots on the chest wall.
- Women having breast reconstruction surgery. Most of the research we have on teardrop shaped breast implants was done in women who had breast cancer surgery with reconstruction, and this is where this implant shines. As you can imagine, this scenario is very comparable to item #2 in this list, which is why a woman who has almost no natural breast tissue may be a good candidate for gummy bears.
Which women are the worst candidates for teardrop shaped gummy bear breast implants?
- Women having implant exchange surgery. Teardrop shaped implants are textured devices, which means that they have a rough surface that encourages your natural tissue to grow into the texturing which essentially sticks the implant to you. If you already have breast implants, you also have a very smooth capsule around your implants that will not allow a textured implant to stick to it. This means that a teardrop implant will be able rotate freely inside the pocket, which will be very noticeable from the outside. The only option for women with implants currently, is to have a procedure called a capsulectomy at the same time as the implant exchange. A capsulectomy means that the surgeon removes the smooth capsule and reestablishes a fresh surface of natural tissue for the new textured implant to stick to. A capsulectomy adds cost, risk, and recovery to the operation though, so make sure you discuss that with your surgeon before going forward with it. It may not be worth the tradeoff to get a teardrop implant.
- Women who want a sexier shape and more cleavage. If you are having a breast augmentation to make your breasts match your already sexy and outgoing personality, you will not be happy with the shape of a teardrop implant. Round implants can look just as natural, but also give you the ability to push them up for sexy cleavage anytime you want, which is something that is much more difficult with teardrop implants.
- Women who don’t want an inframammary fold incision. Teardrop implants are best placed through an inframammary incision (in the fold under the breast). If you would prefer an incision in another location (periareolar or axillary), this is not the implant for you.
What are the advantages of teardrop shaped gummy bear breast implants?
- Most natural shape possible. There’s no question that teardrop shaped implants have the most natural shape possible, but for some women, they end up being too natural. Every women has a different definition of what the word “natural” means, so keep in mind that teardrop implants give results that are on the extreme end of natural.
- Most cohesive gel. Teardrop breast implants are form stable devices, which means that they have the highest level of gel cohesiveness. That does not mean that round implants are not cohesive though… they certainly are. Just as the shape can be an advantage or a disadvantage to certain women, so can the cohesiveness. The ultra high cohesively makes the implants feel a little firmer, so that is a definite tradeoff compared to a round implant that is quite cohesive anyway.
What are the disadvantages of teardrop shaped gummy bear breast implants?
- Shape can be too natural for some. As discussed in the advantages section, the teardrop shape could be a big disappointment if your definition of “natural” doesn’t match up to the extremely natural appearance that these implants offer.
- Larger incision. Because gummy bear implants are textured and firmer, they require a larger incision for insertion.
- Inframammary incision only. Gummy bear implants can only be inserted carefully and safely through in inframammary incision, so if you would prefer to have a periareolar (around the nipple) or axillary (in the armpit) incision, this is not the implant for you.
- Chance of rotation. Because teardrop shaped implants have a top and a bottom, you will notice a change in the shape of your breast if the implant rotates. If this happens, it will require another operation to fix the problem.
- Firmer feel. Teardrop implants are textured devices. The purpose of the texture is to encourage your natural breast tissue to stick to the implant so that it doesn’t rotate. The texture itself, and the fact that the implant sticks to your natural tissue, give it a firmer feel once it’s healed. Round smooth implants are much softer.
- More expensive. Because of their higher gel cohesiveness, their textured surface, and their form stable characteristics, teardrop implants carry a premium price tag over traditional round smooth implants.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com, Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery LLC
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