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Types of Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone breast implants were re-approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2006 after a 14-year ban. The FDA approved only two brands of silicone breast implants, both of which are classified as silicone gel implants. Others types of silicone implants are currently under investigation and await FDA approval.
Silicone Gel Breast Implants
These FDA-approved implants, made by the companies Allergan and Mentor, are composed of a rubbery silicone shell that is filled with a silicone gel. The silicone gel filler gives the implants a look and feel similar to that of natural breasts. Silicone gel implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all of which are intended to mimic a woman's natural contours. They are also available with a smooth surface or a textured surface designed to prevent dislocation.
Becker Adjustable Silicone Implants
The Becker implants, which are manufactured by Mentor, have a double lumen design, which means they consist of a sack within a sack. The inner, adjustable sack is filled with saline solution, while the outer sack is filled with silicone. Saline solution can be injected into or removed from the inner lumen once the implant is in place to adjust its size. These implants feel like silicone implants to the touch but are adjustable in size for up to six months after implantation. Becker implants are still in the trial phase and are not yet available for general use in the United States.
Cohesive Gel Breast Implants
Cohesive gel implants, also called �gummy bear� implants, are made out of a silicone gel that is more solid than it is liquid. Like silicone gel implants, cohesive gel implants are available in various shapes and sizes and also have a very realistic look and feel. Unlike the approved silicone gel implants, however, cohesive gel implants hold their shape. This means that in case of a rupture, the implant won't leak. Cohesive gel implants have been used around the globe for as long as a decade but are still pending approval for use in the U.S.