Late last year the FDA approved the next generation, form-stable silicone breast implant from the medical manufacturer Sientra. This newly improved implant is colloquially known as the Gummy Bear. While the Gummy Bear is new, Dr. Capizzi has performed over 250 surgeries with the groundbreaking Gummy Bear implant. For the past nine years, Dr. Capizzi has been part of an elite group of surgeons participating in an FDA-investigation of a comparable, fifth-generation Gummy Bear implant. Dr. Capizzi is the only surgeon in the area engaged in the study and hence, the expert in our city (and the region). Not all implants are created equal. For our very first blog, we’re spending some quality time with Charlotte’s Gummy Bear guru, Dr. Capizzi, to understand the merits of this breast surgery advancement. Let’s get started!
Q: Dr. Capizzi, what exactly is a Gummy Bear implant?
A: That’s a great place to start! The Gummy Bear is descriptive shorthand name for a new fifth-generation, form-stable silicone implant. As you would surmise, there were four generations behind this latest innovation. The fifth generation is a very, very significant advancement. On an order of magnitude, it is far superior to its predecessor. I have placed over 250 Gummy Bear implants. And, while implant choice is always a highly customized decision, I believe the Gummy Bear produces the best results I have to offer.
Q. That’s high praise. What differentiates Gummy Bear results?
A: Most of my patients are seeking a natural look. The Gummy Bear implant is available in many sizes, textures and in different shapes – round or teardrop, a profile that resembles the anatomy of a natural breast. I engage with my patients to determine the best size and shape to match their body type and expectations.
Q: Is there a risk with something “new?”
A: Actually, in this case NEW means BETTER. No surgery is risk free, of course, but the Sientra Gummy Bear has been through a lengthy and rigorous FDA approval process. Also, the Gummy Bear implant is not really new at Stillwater. I’ve been placing fifth-generation Gummy Bear implants for nearly a decade, as part of an FDA study of a comparable form-stable Gummy Bear implant.
Q: What about Gummy Bear surgical technique?
A: Experience absolutely matters. In the course of performing over 250 Gummy Bear implant surgeries, I’ve developed and mastered Gummy Bear surgical technique. My incisions are only as large as necessary and the pocket is precisely fitted to the implant. In the hands of a capable but less experienced surgeon, managing the Gummy Bear shape, texture and the pliable yet firm gel can be challenging. My personal technique results in securer fit, a more natural look that’s sustainable over time and a faster recovery.
Q: Dr. Capizzi, I have to ask. What about implant malfunctions?
A. My Gummy Bear patients love the results. They are all happy AND healthy. Gummy Bears are highly cohesive. Again, this is the origin of the name. This is key in preventing folds, wrinkling or rupture. There’s a Gummy Bear implant sample in my office, which I use as a discussion aid with patients. I’ve used the same one for many, many years. No changes. Gummy Bears WILL retain shape. Gel migration seems tantamount to impossible; the gel is cohesive.
Q: This brings to mind breast revision surgery. Is the Gummy Bear a good choice for women undertaking breast revision?
A. Absolutely. It’s often the best decision. For revision patients, I recommend textured and shaped Gummy Bears for a securer fit, especially coupled with Acellular Dermis. Accellular Dermis is used to create an internal bra to secure the implant and protect the overlying skin. It’s a very important advancement in breast surgery – eliminating any need for skin grafting. The Accellular Dermis technique is one of my areas of expertise. I’ve used it in hundreds of surgeries. I’m pleased to say the outcomes for breast revision patients are amazing.
Q. Any other thoughts for women considering the Gummy Bear implant?
A. In my view, the Gummy Bear should be a consideration for any woman contemplating cosmetic breast surgery. And, there is more good news. The Gummy Bear implant offers significant advantages for breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy. Here’s a great example. Some breast cancer patients are candidates for what’s called a nipple-sparing mastectomy. This surgery removes breast tissue, while nipple and skin remain in tact. Gummy Bear implant surgery, aided with the use of Accellular Dermis, can be performed immediately following mastectomy – all in one surgery. One day, we will eradicate breast cancer, but in the meantime, reconstructive surgery is of amazing benefit to cancer survivors. The Gummy Bear is a significant advancement.