Two new developments have been reported in the breast augmentation procedure – a new cohesive silicone implant, popularly termed as “gummy bear breast implant” and a faster “Rapid Recovery” technique.

The advantages reportedly outweigh the disadvantages in these two advances and they are getting good publicity in the early stages; but their efficacy on long term is to be established in future.

According to the American Society of Plastic surgeons (ASPS), the breast augmentation surgery was the most popular cosmetic surgery in America with 307,000 procedures done in 2011. This is remarkable and puts into perspective the reported deficiencies such as breast implant rupturing or dislocation or stiffening of adjacent tissues, as not being frequent occurrences.

The cohesive silicone implants have rubber like consistency for which some of the surgeons gave it the nickname “gummy bear breast implant”. Sientra, the maker of Silimed brand, a cohesive silicone implant which got FDA approval recently, however feels that the nickname trivializes the product and does not encourage its use.

The cohesive silicone implants of Allergan and Mentor, the other two makers of silicone implants in America, are presently undergoing clinical tests and are expected to be cleared soon.

The material of this implant can be formed into round or tear drop shape which holds over a long period. These implants which have been used in Europe for many years and have become popular,   are supposed to be more stable than conventional silicone implants and are less likely to rupture. Even if there is rupture, the inner cohesive silicone gel would not spread.

The advantages and the disadvantage of the cohesive silicone implants are said to be:

Advantages :

1) being composed of cross linked silicone particles, they retain their shape over time unlike saline and silicone implants which may not have form stability and tend to become round shaped due to pressure from skin and adjoining body tissues;

2)  Due to cohesive property  they do not spread inside the body even if the outer shells rupture;

3) They can be more easily moulded inside a body type , thus becoming more comfortable;

4) Being more cohesive, the inner gel does not create much pressure on the outer shell  avoiding rupture or collapse and  consequent rippling effect  on the body surface;

5) The rate of scar tissue build up and hardening around the implants which may be painful and require surgery , is much less.

Disadvantages :

1)  The cohesive silicone gel  implants are much more expensive than other types of implants;

2) They are firmer than other implants and may be uncomfortable when the covering tissues are  not enough in volume;

3) Being firmer, they require bigger incision to put them in position.

If and when the other brands of cohesive silicone gel implants (apart from the approved Silimed brand) are cleared by FDA , more information will be available and all or some of these brands might turn out to be highly popular in America.

The other new development – “Rapid Recovery” technique which promises to bring back the patients quickly  into normal non-strenuous  activities after breast augmentation surgery after about 24 hours, involves giving several pre-operative medications to reduce discomfort and muscle soreness,  minimal and precise incisions and post-surgery rehabilitation motions.

The breast augmentation patients are usually able to show their new look within two or three weeks of the surgery, though full healing takes a little more time. But with “Rapid Recovery” technique, it is said, they can show their new look within a few days, sometimes even after one or two days of the surgery. In this technique the use of post-operative tight and uncomfortable surgical bra is eliminated and use of pain medication is reduced.

[Source: This write up is partly sourced from the article “Breast Aug: Safer, Faster, and More Affordable”  by  Samwhite 26.06.2012 statesboroherald.com]