Form stable breast implants: What you need to know
For years, women interested in breast augmentation have had only two options: saline implants or traditional silicone implants. But a third option is now available, and it’s designed to be safer and more natural-looking than its predecessors. It's called a form stable implant, but due to its consistency, it’s also often known as a “gummy bear” implant.
What you see is what you get
Form stable implants are made of a thicker silicone gel than traditional silicone implants. When cut in two, this gel holds its shape and resembles the firm gel found in gummy bears. Form stable implants also have a distinct teardrop shape that closely mimics the natural drape and contour of a real breast. This shape and the gel's firm-yet-yielding texture were designed to appeal to women who want breast implants with the most natural look and feel possible.
These implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes that allow doctors to work closely with patients to find the best fit. They will not deform or change shape after they’re implanted, so the patient enters surgery with a very clear idea of how her breasts will look after. The implants are secured in the submuscular or subglandular region, and they have very little chance of slipping out of place after surgery.
Benefits compared to other implants
A woman who traditionally would have needed breast augmentation and a breast lift to achieve her desired result may now be able to get the effect she wants with a single surgery thanks to the new implant’s superior ability to mimic natural breast tissue.
The stiffer silicone gel in the new form stable implants is supposed to be less prone to wrinkling after implantation than saline implants, and the gel’s textured surface is intended to prevent capsular contraction (hardening scar tissue). Additionally, there is no risk of leakage if the shell around the implant ruptures. The gel’s cohesive consistency keeps it from spilling or running into the body no matter how much pressure is applied.
Form stable implants are new to the market, and their long-term performance is yet to be determined. An eight-year clinical trial of the implants found them to be safe and effective, and there have been no major reports of problems so far. The implants have obtained FDA approval and clinical trials indicate that they are safe, but whether or not they are safer than other types of implants will only be known with time.
The implants are more expensive than saline and traditional silicone implants, but patients who have had form stable implants initially report high levels of satisfaction. For now, form stable implants present an intriguing new option for women who want breast augmentation or reconstruction but also want their breasts to look and feel as natural as possible.