Silicone, saline, or “gummy bear” implants—which to choose? If you’re considering a boob job, you’ll surely want to know what’s really going inside your body…and that’s where Dr. Marc Malek comes in.
The Scottsdale plastic surgeon filled me in on the 411 when it comes to all those gooey implants, should you want a little lift and enlargement. He says it’s important to be knowledgeable about your options; each type has a story.
In fact, Dr. Malek says the history of silicone started in the 1970s, but started gaining popularity in the 80s. At that time, there was an outcry of concern whether silicone implants were related to immunological disorders; in other words, where the body reacts to itself and fights the presence of silicone. Within due time, rheumatologists, who studied those immunological disorders like lupus, looked into the correlation between the illnesses and silicone, only to find the two were not parallel. However, even though they determined silicone was not a negative entity, the FDA did the right thing and did their own due diligence. In fact, the watchdog pulled silicone off the market for 15 years for further research.
Dr. Malek says the 15-year moratorium on silicone implants only took a toll on first-time augmentation patients—they couldn’t opt for silicone. On the flip side, if you needed a skin lift and implant, doctors still used silicone. In addition, all reconstruction patients also utilized silicone. After 15 years, the FDA put silicone back on the market for everyone.
Dr. Malek says some practices preach silicone, while others still use more saline. Dr. Malek is somewhere in the middle…
Based on his years of experience, Dr. Malek thinks silicone is a better implant for someone who is thin-breasted and doesn’t have a lot of tissue. A patient who lacks breast volume will better benefit from silicone because it will feel softer and more natural than its saline counterpart.
On the flip side, Dr. Malek says if you have large breasts and have had several children, a saline implant will provide a firmer foundation so the soft natural tissue can be draped over it. Therefore, if you’re mostly breast and very little implant, saline does a nice, less expensive job; Dr. Malek says it will save you an average $1,000.
And now, the latest fad: re-vamped silicone…also dubbed “gummy bear” implants.
Dr. Malek says gummy bear implants entered the market about five years ago, and the rather new silicone implants are a little better than the regular silicone option. First, you’ll notice a difference in the texture and quality; they’re firmer. According to Dr. Malek, this implant has a better look and better feel. And consider this. If you put a hole in the old silicone, the implant shell would likely ooze. Dr. Malek says the gummy bear type has a gummy-like cohesive gel, allowing it to better hold shape. If silicone does happen to leak, it is more than likely to stay in the shell of the implant because of its gummy texture. But fear not…Dr. Malek says even if ooze were to escape, it would stay within the capsule.
Even though it’s new-and-improved, the gummy bear implant has not changed the safety of silicone either way. The FDA clearly allows the use of silicone, but it’s recommended you get a MRI every two years, just for reassurance everything’s fine.