A few months ago, the FDA officially approved the Allergan 410 implant. And while you may have never heard of the implant under this name, you probably have heard it referred to as the “Gummy Bear Implant”.
Since being coined the “gummy bear implant”, the media has been touting this implant as nothing short of revolutionary and effectively creating demand before this product was even available. But what is the difference between this new implant and does it really live up to all of the hype?
To answer this question, let’s first talk about what a 410 implant really is. First, the Allergan 410 implant is simply a silicone gel implant where the gel is slightly stiffer (more cohesive) thus allowing the implant to retain a shape instead of being round like most implants before it. The implant is also teardrop shaped and its surface is textured. The theoretical benefit of this specific teardrop shape is that the implant maintains fullness at the top (unlike other implants) and so provides more upper pole fullness to the breast. Is this important? Absolutely! The Holy Grail of breast enhancement has always been addition of volume not only to the breast in general but, more specifically, addition to the upper pole of the breast. This is what is lost with the aging process and with pregnancy and this is what most women ask for when they come and see me. An implant that would address this concern would be a step ahead of the other implants and should be a great fit for everyone. Right? Not exactly. The very qualities that make this a great implant also make it not such a great implant.
For the implant to hold its shape, the gel must be slightly firmer. As such, these implants may potentially feel less natural for some patients. Next, because they are shaped, these implants must be placed in a very tight tissue pocket so that they do not rotate. If they do, the results can be disastrous. Surgeons using these implants must understand the fine differences in the procedure necessary to place a gummy bear implant versus that used for the standard round gel breast implant. And, the patient must understand the technical expertise necessary for this procedure and the real risk that their implant may potentially rotate over time if the pocket and the textured shell do not hold it in the correct position.
While the gummy bear breast implant is certainly a step forward, it is not for everyone. The ability of an implant to actually shape the breast (instead of the opposite) is a novel concept. For years, pre-existing shape of the breast has been the primary determinant of how that breast is going to look following placement of an implant. Now, we finally have the ability to use the implant to more effectively create a shape for the breast. In women with very little breast tissue or for those who have undergone entire removal of the breast for cancer, the shaped/textured implant may be a huge advantage in that the implant itself can help create a shape that did not exist before. And for those patients, the gummy bear implant is an excellent choice.
If you are considering breast enhancement but unsure of whether you might be a good candidate for the gummy bear breast implant, I encourage you to visit with an experienced, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes specifically in breast enhancement surgery. Because of economic pressures within the medical profession, many inexperienced physicians (some not even surgeons) have entered the world of Cosmetic Surgery and are now offering breast augmentation. These surgeons simply do not have the background or the expertise to identify whether you are a good candidate for a more advanced device such as the 410 Implant and should not be someone you confer with before making such an important decision. This implant requires a surgeon with years of experience who understands the breast and who appreciates the advantages and disadvantages of a more complicated device. When placed in the correct position and in the correct patient, this device can be an outstanding way to achieve a very positive and very natural result. But in the wrong patient, the results can be disastrous. Check credentials before proceeding and ask your surgeon to explain to you why you may be a good candidate or why you are not.
As an experienced breast surgeon and officially trained in the use of these implants, I am proud to offer the Allergan 410 shaped implants to my patients. Before you move forward with surgery, make sure and check if your surgeon is qualified. This is a more challenging implant to work with and so not everyone is allowed to work with this implant due to the more technical skills required with its use.
I hope this helps and I look forward to working with you. To contact me, please either email me personally at [email protected] or call to speak with one of my incredible staff. We look forward to working with you.