05th May, 2020

What are highly cohesive silicone breast implants?

Breast augmentation Wollongong Sydney

Women now have many choices to make when planning a breast augmentation procedure, allowing them to adapt the procedure to meet their needs. One of the newer developments in the field has been highly cohesive silicone implants, sometimes known as “gummy bear” implants. Many of our patients have heard about these, and want to know more. What does “highly cohesive” actually mean? What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing this style of implant?

Highly cohesive silicone

Silicone is a polymer, meaning a chemical compound that’s made up of repeating units. Depending on the exact type of the unit, as well as how they’re linked together, the resulting polymer can behave in different ways. At room temperature, different types of silicone might be a liquid, a gel, or a solid.

The term “cohesive” is used to indicate how strongly the units are linked to each other. “Highly cohesive” silicone has more links between the units, holding them more strongly together. Because of this, the gel acts more like a soft solid, rather than a runny liquid. 

Implants are not made of silicone with very low cohesion (this is a very runny liquid, like that used as lubricant in mechanical structures, and is not safe for use in breast implants). Most breast implants use silicone with moderate cohesion, which has a consistency similar to gelatin. Highly cohesive implants use an even more cohesive silicone, which has a consistency closer to that of a gummy bear.

Advantages of highly cohesive breast implants

There are a few different reasons that women may prefer highly cohesive implants. Some of these include:

  • Avoiding leakage of silicone into the body. In the event that a silicone breast implant ruptures, silicone gel may leak out into the scar tissue capsule around the implant, and in rare cases may even migrate outside of this. With highly cohesive silicone, there is much less chance that silicone will leak into the tissues, because it has a more solid texture.
  • Maintaining its shape over the years. Over many years inside of the body, silicone implants sometimes lose their shape and sag. With highly cohesive silicone, the implant is more likely to maintain its shape for a longer time. 
  • Reduce rippling of the implant. Ripples occur when the sides of the implant begin to collapse inward, in response to the movement of the silicone gel within the implant. (Imagine holding a partly filled water balloon; there will be some ripples at the surface as it collapses inward.) With a firmer implant, there is less movement of the silicone inside and therefore less rippling at the surface. (Imagine holding a gummy bear in your hand; it holds its shape and doesn’t ripple.)

Disadvantages of highly cohesive breast implants

Although highly cohesive implants do have certain advantages, they aren’t right for everyone. There are certain disadvantages to this type of implant, which may cause some women to choose a different option.

  • Not compressible. Because highly cohesive implants are more solid, they cannot be compressed to fit through a smaller incision. This makes them harder to place through a transaxillary (armpit) incision, and requires that any incision be a little longer to allow the implant to pass through.
  • Doesn’t change shape in response to gravity. While the ability of these implants to hold their shape over many years is an advantage to some women, it can also be a disadvantage in some cases. This type of implant does not respond to gravity by changing shape, as natural breast tissue or a less cohesive implant would do. With a round implant, it will tend to maintain that round shape even when a natural breast would not (for example, when the woman is lying on her back).
  • Cost. Highly cohesive implants tend to cost a little bit more than a standard (moderately cohesive) silicone implant would. The cost of the implant itself is only one of the costs of breast augmentation, so the difference in the overall cost of the procedure may not be enough to matter to many women. However, for those who are very budget-conscious, the extra cost may be enough to sway them in a different direction.

Breast augmentation Wollongong and Sydney

If you’d like to learn more about your breast implant choices, including highly cohesive implants, the best next step is to consult with a specialist plastic surgeon. If you’re considering having a breast augmentation Wollongong, Sydney, or the surrounding area, we invite you to schedule an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Adrian Sjarif. This will be a chance for him to examine you, learn more about your history and your goals for your procedure, and give you more information about your various choices and what he would recommend in your case. As a highly regarded plastic surgeon who has completed prestigious training programs in Australia as well as the US and Germany, Dr. Sjarif enjoys offering patients his knowledge and expertise, and is happy to spend time with you to answer your questions. There is absolutely no pressure to schedule a surgical procedure after your appointment; the consultation is simply a chance for you to learn more so that you can make your own decision about whether breast implants are right for you or not. To schedule your appointment, you can send us a message or simply call our office.

Posted on May 5, 2020 in

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