Dr. Patti Flint

Gummy Bear Implants: Hype not Help

I recently returned from the yearly American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery meeting. I was very interested in hearing what the world’s experts had to say about their experience with textured shaped implants, commonly referred to as teardrop, anatomical, or gummy bear implants. What I heard confirmed my intuition.

Don’t believe the hype

This type of implant has been hyped greatly by the media, so I am frequently asked by patients about them. However, eighty percent of the plastic surgeons polled at this large meeting use only smooth round implants. The reasons for this are easy to understand when you consider the following facts:

In multiple published studies, neither board certified plastic surgeons nor patients could determine which patients had shaped implants and which patients had round implants when shown photos of each. This shows that the shaping of the implant provides no evident improvement in breast shape.

Another study showed that in over 100 patients with anatomic implants, the implant was rotated in the wrong direction when viewed on ultrasound forty-two percent of the time. More remarkably, this was only obvious on physical exam in five percent of patients, further underscoring that the shape of the implant is not helpful in regard to cosmetic result.

There is an extremely rare form of a cancer called breast implant associated lymphoma. This cancer has only occurred in women with textured implants, which all shaped implants are.

The leading cause of reoperation following breast augmentation is capsular contracture, which is scar tissue that can form around an implant. The most accepted theory of the cause of this issue is bacteria on the implant leading to inflammation and then scar. Textured implants harbor twenty times more bacteria than smooth implants.

On top of all of the above, these implants are at least thirty percent more expensive! Ignore the hype. Smooth, round implants have a long-proven safe track record. I am happy to report that those are the only implants I use, and with all of the information above, I am confident it is the right choice for my patients.


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