The shape-stable breast implants, or “gummy bear” implants, have been available in recent years. Sientra started marketing the implants a few years ago, followed by Allergan and Mentor. It is a type of silicone gel implant; the proprietary process of the manufacturer gives the the gel a thicker consistency. The end result is that this type of implant is firmer and maintains shape better. I still use many more regular silicone implants. However, I feel there is definite a role for these shape-stable breast implants for some select patients. Over the past year, I have used these implants in 8 women and I would like share with you my experience.
I offered the shape-stable breast implants to individuals who had very thin soft tissue coverage and who desired to have more fullness at the upper areas of their breasts. Many of these patients had the implants placed above the muscle areas previously. Some of them had even thinner soft tissue coverage because of capsulectomy (removal of scar tissue around implants). Whenever I can, I generally suggest relocating the implants under the pectoralis muscles. However, this is not always possible. Also, often in this same group of women, many have significant loss of the upper pole volume of their breasts. Although this can be potentially improved with breast lift (mastopexy), the location of implants and the very thin soft tissue may render mastopexy more risky and the shape not as long-lasting as desired. The firmer gel in the shape-stable breast implants tend to keep more fullness at the upper pole and enhance the appearance. Because of these considerations, I thought these patients were good candidates for the gummy bear implants.
The vast majority of the patients who had received the shape-stable breast implants have been extremely satisfied. They indeed have had significant improvement of rippling and enhancement of upper pole fullness. Still, I do not recommend the shape-stable implants to all women. For selected patients, however, these newer implants can be a better option.