Implant rotation: a problem for “gummy bear” implants?

In this month’s issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a new report describes a frequent problem with the McGhan style 510 implant: implant rotation.

The style 510 implant is not available here in the U.S. market, but is used extensively in Europe. It has a “teardrop” or “anatomic” shape, and is filled with two layers of form stable silicone gel. Some people call this a “gummy bear” implant, due to the thick consistency of this type of gel.

In a series of 73 breast augmentations with this implant, 12 (8.2%) patients had a problem with implant rotation, giving a peculiar breast shape. Of these, more than half (7) required re-operation to fix the issue. This is a high percentage for what is usually a rare problem.

There was no particular cause to explain the problem. It was unrelated to implant size, patient BMI or other obvious factors. Findings at re-operation did not explain the cause either. Based on this series, the authors have abandoned their use of the 510 style implant for cosmetic breast augmentation.

Of course, we’re still waiting for the FDA to make up their mind about approving the “gummy bear” type of implants for the U.S. market. Once again, Europe and Canada are far ahead of the U.S. with this. On the plus side, they’ll have worked out all the problems by the time we get to use the implants!

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