What are the main differences in silicon implants versus gummy bear implants? I was told the gummy bear implants were filled with the same product the gummy bears are made from. I personally think that information is incorrect. I just want to know which of the two are the better option in terms of safety, and length of use?
The difference between silicone implants is the degree to which the silicone is cross-linked. The more cross-linking the sturdier the silicone. Cohesive gel are like thick molasses. HIghly cohesive gel implants are semi-solid, kind of like jello (or gummy bears!).
Saline implants are filled with salt water, which moves quickly. Saline implants tend to be a bit more "feelable" than silicone. The baffled saline implant prevents the water from moving so quickly, so it feels more like a silicone implant.
All implants can fail. If a saline implant fails you know it quickly because it deflates. Replacing it is a quick swap-out. Silicone implants need to be "monitored" for failure, using ultrasound or MRI. If a silicone implant fails, you must remove the implant and the surround scar capsule...a much bigger operation.
The "safest" implant is saline. The most natural feeling is a cohesive gel silicone. Gummy implants are firmer. Baffled saline is a good option.
Gummy bear implants have a thicker silicone gel than non-gummy silicone implants but it is not the same gel as those found in gummy bears. The decision on the implants used is based around a patient’s goals and expectations. As a result one is not better than another. See a series of surgeons to get the best advice on the best implants for you.
The material inside of "gummy" implants is silicone. The material that gives gummy bears (the candy) their consistency is called gelatin, which is derived from animal collagen and is used for multiple cooking and baking purposes. If a breast implant were made of gelatin, your body would dissolve the implant within a few days. Silicone is a highly stable material used to make many medical devices including joint implants as well as breast implants. The silicone inside "gummy" implants is designed to be more solid than the non-gummy silicone, which makes it stay in place if the implant were to rupture. With modern silicone implants, even non-gummy silicone is still not "leaky" the way it used to be in older silicone implants (prior to 1992). A saline implant is made of a silicone outer shell filled with salt water. Hope this helps.
Silicone can be made into gels of various degrees of cohesiveness, which translates into firmness and the ability to hold a shape. Silicone implants have a shell made of silicone, and are filled with either saline (not commonly used now) or silicone gel. "Gummy bear" implants have the firmest gel and are available in teardrop shapes or round. The medical grade silicone gel used in implants is nontoxic.
You are correct, breast implants are not filled with gummy bears!
The "gummy bear" designation is not a medically derived term but more of community driven term. As such, there is no clearly defined agreement on exactly what makes up these "gummy bear" implants. To some extent, all silicone implants available today are gummy bears, meaning they are all cohesive to some extent. This means the silicone molecule is somewhat "stuck" to the silicone molecules next to it. The more of these attachments are present, the more cohesive and thus more firm the silicone becomes. Some refer to these highly cohesive implants as "extra gummy". I hope this helps.
Best of luck to you!
G. Robert Meger MD