What’s New In Breast Implant Technology?
It’s been said that medical knowledge doubles every seven to ten years. In a field as innovative and exciting as plastic surgery, the rate is likely even more impressive. The relationship between technological advancements and what we are able to offer our patients will only continue to strengthen. Nowhere is this more evident than in the specialty of cosmetic breast augmentation, a procedure that relies significantly (but not entirely) on a man-made device for successful outcomes. Below are some exciting advances in breast implant technology.
Gummy bear implant
First available for cosmetic breast surgery in 2012 in the United States, shaped cohesive gel implants (popularly called ‘Gummy Bear’ Implants) are designed to stay in place due to its textured surface, and appears to have a lower rate of capsular contracture than the other available devices. It is appropriate for women looking for a more natural-looking augmentation, and very stable long-term results.
- Surgeon: Dr. Chike-Obi
- Patient Height/Weight: 5’2’’ Weight: 120lbs
- Implant Type: 310cc cohesive gel anatomic (gummy bear) implants
- Pocket Type: ‘submuscular’
- Incision Type: Inframammary
This device promises to be 30% lighter than currently available silicone implants. This is accomplished by using microsphere technology to disperse tiny, hollow beads throughout medical grade silicone. Since the beads are hollow and weigh less than silicone, the result is a lighter implant with the same volume. Theoretically lighter implants will decrease the amount of ‘wear and tear’ the breast tissues sustain over time after breast augmentation, as well as decrease stress on the breast tissues during physical and leisure activities. This hypothesis has merit; however long-term studies that demonstrate clinical benefit are currently unavailable.
This device is not yet available in the United States.
This is a new type saline implant that is designed to feel more natural than all previously available saline implants. It has a series of internal shells that are connected such that sloshing around and bouncing of the saline is minimized. Two-year clinical trial results were submitted to the FDA before approval was granted.
This device was approved in the United States and Canada in November 2014 but is not commercially available as of this writing. Whether this device will be able to reverse the specialty’s trend towards silicone-based breast augmentation remains to be seen.
Update (January 4, 2022):
Since textured breast implants have been associated with a low risk of an uncommon and highly treatable type of lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), most plastic surgeons are not currently offering textured implants. The FDA does NOT currently recommend removal of textured breast implants in asymptomatic women.
Smooth implants (silicone or saline) continue to demonstrate an excellent safety and satisfaction record and continue to be recommended.
Please reach out to us with any questions!