Gummy Bear aka Cohesive Gel Implants : Advantages, Disadvantages

This is from an article that I recently had published that compares gummy bear, or cohesive gel breast implants, with silicone and also with saline implants.  Enjoy!

Breast Implant operations continue to be among the top five most popular and requested plastic surgeries performed here in the United States.  Not only has breast augmentation made leaps and bounds in the technological and technique aspect, but the cost has also come considerably down from when they first started to become popular and well known.

This procedure dates back to the 1950’s believe it or not, when the first pioneers went under the knife and got the only type of implant available back then, which was the silicone variety.  If you recall, much later in the nineties, the safety of silicone breast implants came under fire with numerous women saying they felt their health had been compromised after leakage into their body produced strange symptoms that resembled auto immune or nervous system related side effects.

Because of the crusade of many consumer rights groups, silicone breast implants were banned from use in the United States for several years, only recently making a comeback due to a re-approval process and companies that manufacture the silicone type of device improving their leakage likelihood by reinforcing the shell encasing the silicone in a better way.

Up until they were approved again in the United States, women would have to travel over to Europe or other far off places where they were still legal.  Even now, silicone is not used by every surgeon, but it is increasingly easier to find one that will use this type of device.  While we may never know how truly safe this type of device is, it remains a popular choice for women who want a more natural feel and look, and some say it simply doesn’t compare to the saline type when it comes to copying nature.

Whatever you may believe, it’s important to note that you should always discuss the options with your surgeon before you make any choices.  Educate yourself on what you believe is the safest, most logical choice for yourself, and don’t strictly let the vanity aspect guide you, but rather try to keep an objective, open mind and don’t let the manufacturer’s obvious skewed view get in the way.  Instead try to read unbiased, objective reviews and descriptions by women who’ve actually had them.

That said, let’s talk about the newer options that patients have today when getting their breasts enlarged via augmentation surgery.  There is another option that is garnering a lot of interest on the web as a possibility for wide future use here in the US, but still for whatever reason is only mainly available through surgeons who are running clinical trials on the implant.  The implants I’m talking about are called cohesive gel, or more widely known as “gummy bear” implants.

Cohesive gel, or gummy bear, implants are manufactured by Mentor corporation, and they are named under the model Natrelle 410.  They are still being looked at for wider use, but as with any other medical device approval process, this can take years for them to go through for more popular use, especially when there are other viable alternatives available to those desiring breast augmentation.

So, what is the difference behind the cohesive gel aka gummy bear, and a regular silicone device?  Well, the term “cohesive” actually by virtue means that the described product maintains it’s integrity and it’s shape, even when compromised.  A good visual, and one that you can find on the cohesive gel website, is the comparison to the gummy bear.

When the cohesive, or gummy bear implant, is cut in half, it maintains it’s shape, just like a piece of gummy candy does.  It’s soft and pliable, and yet it has that cohesive nature that allows it to keep it’s shape when the outer shell is broken.

The key word here being “soft”.  That is why so many patients are curious about this type of technologically advanced material, because it is soft like silicone, and yet it maintains it’s shape and integrity much better, and who knows, it may even prove safer since it may be less likely to be leeched into the blood stream if the implant is ever compromised or a revision surgery is needed.

Now, how do they look?  I took a look at many pictures online that show before and afters of patients who received the gummy implant, that I must say they look pretty good, but I couldn’t tell a huge difference between them and saline implants visually.

Of course, I have never actually touched a breast that is altered with the cohesive implant, so I don’t know how they compare in softness and natural feel, bounce and movement, so I’d have to safely assume that this is where the bang for your buck comes in.  Feel and movement are really important when it comes to your breasts, so this does count for a lot for most patients who are concerned with having stiff, unnatural feeling and motionless breasts.

Now on to the cost factor.  Gummy bear implants cost significantly more than saline implants, and a fair amount more than saline implants, so that is definitely going to cause them not to be as widely used whenever they do become popularized over here in the US, as they are in Europe currently.

Another few factors to consider about these nifty implant options is that they are not fillable, so they can’t be inserted as easily through small incisions like silicone and saline, since an empty shell is inserted and then they are filled inside the chest.  What this boils down to is a larger incision to get the implant in.

Also, because they come pre-sized, you’d better make sure that is the size and shape you want your breast to look like, otherwise, they are not really changeable after inserted into the chest unless the patients opts for another surgery to get new ones implanted.

Copyright 2009 Danna Schneider

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