When selecting a silicone breast implant, shape and consistency are two important factors for patients to consider. Silicone implants are available in two shapes: round and anatomical shaped, and each shape has a different type of silicone: cohesive gel (round) and form stable (shaped).
Form stable silicone implants are shaped and have a textured shell. They are also referred to as “teardrop-shaped” or “anatomical shaped” implants.
Cohesive gel silicone implants are round and traditionally have had a smooth shell. There are also round cohesive gel implants with a textured shell. The cohesive gel implants have been called “gummy bear” implants by some plastic surgeons and the media.
I was part of the initial clinical trials that brought about the round cohesive gel FDA approval, however I was not part of the clinical trials for form stable shaped implants.
At Colorado Plastic Surgery Center, we offer a variety of implant types and manufacturers including:
- Anatomical Shaped Implants – Allergan Natrelle 410, Sientra HSC+ and Mentor MemoryShape
- Round Smooth Implants – Allergan Natrelle Gel, Allergan Inspira Smooth, Mentor MemoryGel and Sientra HSC Smooth
- Round Textured Implants – Allergan Inspira Textured, Mentor Siltex and Sientra HSC Textured.
Having a variety of implant options available allows us to work together to determine which type of implant will be the best fit for you, based on your individual needs and desired results.
Form Stable vs. Cohesive Gel Silicone Implants – Consistency
Both forms of silicone gel implants were designed to be a gel substance that adheres to itself, so that if there is a rupture in the implant casing, the silicone does not leak outside the breast pocket. Hence the original nickname “Gummy Bear” was coined.
The form stable shaped implants have a less liquid, more solid consistency than the round cohesive gel implants. The best analogy to compare the consistency of the two is to compare a gummy treat fresh out of the bag (form stable) and Jell-O that has fully set up (cohesive gel). The form stable implants are firmer and retain their shape, while cohesive silicone gel implants are softer and more compliant.
Shaped Implants – Form Stable
The Natrelle 410 is a popular option for patients who opt for an anatomical shaped implant for their breast augmentation surgery. Made by Allergan, a highly reputable breast implant manufacturer, the Natrelle 410 was the first form stable shaped implant approved by the FDA in February 2013.
This firmness of the form stable silicone breast implants can be an advantage, as well as a disadvantage, depending on the condition of your breasts. The firmness of the form stable implants would typically feel more natural on women who are younger and have small existing breasts without sagging. Women who have looser breasts, often caused by pregnancy or breastfeeding, may find these implants to be firmer than a natural feeling breast.
Round Implants – Cohesive Gel
Round implants, with either a smooth or textured shell, use the more flexible cohesive silicone gel. These implants are softer, meaning the gel changes shape with the body’s movements providing a consistency that, I feel, is more similar to breast fat and mammary tissue. Think about the differences in your breast appearance when you are standing up verses lying on your back. Your natural breast tissue shifts based on your body’s position.
So, which is more natural feeling: the form stable or the cohesive gel breast implant? The answer is both! Ultimately, it will depend on what you, as a woman, want your breasts to feel like.
Shape is also an important factor when choosing an implant type. Read more in my comparison of round and anatomical shaped silicone implants, including a look at why 3D simulation is an important part of the decision process.
To see results from our patients who have had breast augmentation procedures, view ourBefore and After Photo Gallery for form stable Anatomical Silicone Implants and cohesive gel Round Silicone Implants.