Call them gummy bear implants, cohesive gel implants, teardrop implants, anatomical breast implants, shaped implants, or form-stable implants, but whatever you call them, a fair amount of confusion exists regarding the benefits of this newest line of silicone gel implants. One reason is that they go by so many different names, but more important is the issue of which patients get a better result. Some surgeons use them on all or most of their patients, some never, but many like me use them in particular circumstances.
What are form-stable implants?
First a definition of form-stable implants: they are silicone breast implants with a firmer gel fill, so that they can hold a shape. Round implants typically contain a softer gel; this allows them to form a teardrop profile in the upright position, but round out when lying flat, like a natural breast. The softer gel can however be more prone to rippling, especially in higher profile versions. Another feature of form-stable implants is that they have a textured surface, which requires a thicker shell. The reason for the texturing is to “stick” the implant in place in order to prevent rotation. One source of confusion is the term “cohesive,” which means that the gel holds together like a solid material. All gel used in implants is cohesive, but in round implants it is more like jelly, while in form-stable implants more like Jello.
Who should consider form-stable implants?
So who benefits from form-stable implants? I think the best use is in the patient with an oval base shape (as opposed to round) of the breast. This type of breast has a short distance from the nipple to the bottom of the breast (inframammary fold.) An oval base form-stable implant places the maximum projection where the nipple is, while a round implant would have the center too high. This is about 1 in 6 or 7 patients. Downsides of textured implants include cost – they are about $1000 more per pair than round implants. Because form-stable implants are stiffer, they require a longer incision for placement. And they can occasionally rotate despite the texturing.
If you think form-stable implants might be right for you, please call and schedule a consultation.