Are Gummy Bear Implants Safer Than Silicone?

While silicone breast implants have been around for quite some time now, they continue to evolve, allowing more options for patients seeking breast augmentation. In addition to traditional silicone implants, an individual may alternatively opt for saltwater implants or cohesive gel implants — more commonly referred to as gummy bear implants (via Charlotte Plastic Surgery).

Having earned FDA approval only about 11 years ago, it's natural that patients would have questions regarding the safety and efficacy of these relatively new devices. As cohesive silicone gel implants, gummy bear implants are similar to traditional silicone implants but with some notable differences. Most predominantly, the fact that gummy bear implants are filled with a thicker silicone gel than what's used with traditional silicone implants. This thicker gel allows it to maintain its shape even in the event of damage to the implant, thereby reducing the chances of leakage.

Gummy bear implants can also differ from traditional silicone implants in regard to their shape. While both types of implants come in a round shape, gummy bear implants also come in the shape of a tear.

Safety benefits of gummy bear implants

Many people find that gummy bear implants offer a more firm, natural appearance than traditional silicone implants (via Charlotte Plastic Surgery). While this may be more satisfactory to some patients, are gummy bear implants actually safer overall?

While both types of implants are considered medically safe, gummy bear implants may offer some specific benefits that other types of implants cannot. For instance, gummy bear implants have a lower risk of folds, wrinkles, and ripples. They are also less likely to shift in place, and your chances for scarring or capsular contracture are lower than with other types of implants.

Breast cancer patients may also find gummy bear implants to be a better option for breast reconstruction surgeries, as existing breast tissue is not required for the implants to still be effective (via Premier Plastic Surgery). Finally, as previously mentioned, gummy bear implants also have the added safety benefit of being leakage-free in the event of damage to the outside shell of the implant.

Potential safety risks of gummy bear implants

Naturally, there are risks to any breast augmentation surgical procedure. Gummy bear implants, however, may leave a longer scar than other types of implants (via Charlotte Plastic Surgery). Another potential drawback for patients may be that saline or traditional silicone implants will provide greater volume to the breasts than gummy bear implants.

Although unlikely, textured gummy bear breast implants (those with a rough surface rather than smooth) may also increase one's risk for anaplastic large cell lymphoma. While it's not breast cancer, breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a rare kind of immune system cancer that progressively develops in the fluid and scar tissue surrounding the implant (via Cleveland Clinic). To treat the disorder, the implant is surgically removed. However, the risk of developing BIA-ALCL in the first place is low. As a rare condition, recent FDA data shows that only 36 ALCL deaths have ever been detected in connection with breast implants.