Although “gummy bear” breast implants have not yet been approved by the FDA, their worldwide popularity has many clamoring for the cohesive silicone implants. A recent poll on ImplantInfo revealed that 51 percent of 800 readers would be willing to wait for FDA approval before undergoing breast augmentation
This newer type of implant, which has been approved for use in Europe and Canada, is popularly known as the “gummy” bear implant for its firm, sticky texture. According to plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Teitelbaum:
“Today’s silicone gel breast implants are far more cohesive, less likely to leak and less likely to spread than the more ‘liquid’ implants of the ‘70s and ‘80s – the type of silicone that gave breast implants a bad name.
What are the Benefits of Gummy Bear Implants?
These implants are stickier than older breast implant
models. As a result, they are better at retaining their form and soft texture. Other advantages include:
- superior shape retention
- less frequent hardening of scar tissue (capsular contracture)
- less likely to cause folds
- lower chances of shell collapse
- less likely to leak
Of course, there are also some disadvantages with these implants, beginning with reduced flexibility and firmer feel. They’re more expensive than other implants and require longer surgical incisions. As well, with cohesive gel implants, there is a danger of distortion if the implant rotates within the breast. Nonetheless, as indicated by the ImplantInfo surgery, there seems to be significant interest in bringing gummy bear breast implants stateside.
Why Haven’t Gummy Bear Implants Been Approved Yet?
Dr. Teitelbaum says that the FDA is being cautious before approving a new medical device, but the implants may be available as early as this year.
“The FDA’s job is to be sure that medical devices sold to the public are safe for them. When fiascos like those with PIP
happen, it delays the process because it worries everyone. But the data from (Gummy Bear) implants are better than for any other implant to date. It seems inevitable that they will get approved.”
Image source: Pumbaa80, Wikimedia Commons
Wrinkles, brown spots, and veins are common signs of aging in the hands, but correcting these lines and blemishes presents significant challenges to plastic surgeons. Hands are marvellous structures with numerous bones, tendons, muscles, and joints, which all need to work together. However, as a recent article
in the New York Times
points out, it seems that new techniques for hand rejuvenation are being developed.
The Challenges of Hand Rejuvenation
“The hands are a hot new area. Now that we have the face so well treated, we’re looking at the hands, neck and décolleté.”
– Dr. Neil S. Sadick
There are several challenges that prevent hand rejuvenation surgery
from being a viable option. According to New York dermatologist
Dr. Neil S. Sadick, the removal of skin on the hands would result in significant scarring and poor healing. The hand, with its many moving parts, presents too many dangers of complications.
“You’d have to literally take a scissors and separate the tissue, and you might interfere with some of the tendons.”
– Dr. John F. Farella
is another common method of resolving wrinkles in the face, but is poorly suited for use in the hands. Since it works by inhibiting targeted muscles and allowing other muscles to stretch, it is highly effective for facial wrinkles, but would limit the function of the hand.
Non-Surgical Hand Rejuvenation Methods
Other techniques have emerged as possible approaches to the problem of hand rejuvenation. Some surgeons use fat grafting and laser treatments to increase volume and remove blemishes. Other surgeons, such as Dr. Keith Marcus, have begun advertising a “hand lift.” By using dermal fillers
, a plastic surgeon can rejuvenate the hands by adding volume and reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. The effects of this technique last about a year and can be renewed with further treatments.
Silicone and saline breast implants have long dominated the field of breast augmentation surgery
. However, recent advances in autologous fat grating indicate that this procedure may soon rival implants, with ongoing research into different methods of using a patient’s own tissues to provide larger breasts. According to a new study
published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
, the use of autologous fat grafting alongside a bra-like tissue expansion device has proven to be a safe and effective alternative to implants.
Autologous Fat Transfer: How Does It Work?
- uses the patient’s own tissues rather than an implant
- fat is extracted from the tummy, buttocks, or another part of the body where there may be unwanted fat
- the fat is injected into the patient’s breast, typically with about a dozen injection sites
- the patient’s body reintegrates the fat and the breast is left with a newly enlarged appearance
Pros and Cons of Autologous Fat Transfer
- fat deposits can be long-lasting and don’t require later removal for revision surgery
natural look and feel
- body tends to absorb much of the fat
- risk that the transplanted tissue will not survive the procedure
This study examined 81 women who underwent autologous fat injections after several weeks of using a bra-like, vacuum-based, external tissue expander. This device works by stretching the breast tissues and preparing them to expand. The fat was injected into the breasts at 10–14 needle puncture sites. The results indicated that the tissue expansion device improved the surgical results with:
- larger breast augmentations
- more fat graft placement
- higher graft survival rates
- minimal graft necrosis or complications
- 16% incidence of fat necrosis after a year
While the researchers caution that more research into the technique is needed, they conclude that autologous fat grafting is a safe and highly effective alternative to implants for breast augmentation
Reduction mammaplasty, more widely known as breast reduction surgery, is a popular cosmetic procedure
that can offer a wealth of health benefits to women who pursue the surgery. A recent article
in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
has highlighted these benefits by surveying past studies on the topic. Based on a literature review on studies from 1977 to 2010, the article shows how breast reduction
can have benefits ranging from alleviated back problems to better sleep and breathing patterns.
Physical Benefits of Breast Reduction
- Reduced back and neck pain. Heavy breasts can weigh heavily on a woman’s back, causing soreness and chronic back issues, and many women can experience degenerative changes in the spine.
- Improvement in chronic headaches. Studies have shown that migraine symptoms can be alleviated by breast reduction surgery.
- Better breathing and improved sleep. A reduction in breast mass is associated with a greater flow of air while you breathe. This has a variety of benefits, including greater exercise tolerance, better outcomes for people with breathing problems, and reduced sleep disturbance.
- Other health benefits. Women who have undergone breast reduction surgery experience easier breast self-examinations, improved weight and exercise practices, and are less likely to have an eating disorder.
Psychological Benefits of Breast Reduction
- Improved self-esteem. Women with reduced breasts feel that their bodies now match their expectations and don’t feel that their breasts are attracting unwanted attention.
- Better sex life. According to the study authors, “women are more willing to engage in sexual activities and are more comfortable without their clothes on after reduction mammaplasty.”
- Superior quality of life. With less anxiety and depression, and the various physical and psychological benefits of surgery, breast reduction patients report an overall improvement in their lives.