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Entries in Gummy Bears (2)

Monday
May212012

'Gummy Bear' Breast Implants: The Future of Breast Augmentation Surgery?

Dr. Grant Stevens, a plastic surgeon in Marina Del Rey, Calif., coined the term, "gummy bear breast implant" for a type of silicone implant. (ABC News)(LOS ANGELES) -- Like kids in a candy store, more women are seeking out a type of silicone breast implant that one doctor calls the "gummy bear."

Dr. Grant Stevens, a prominent plastic surgeon in Marina Del Rey, Calif., coined the term "gummy bear breast implant." He said he gave the implants their catchy nickname because when cut in half, the implant is stable and retains its shape, much like the chewy, gummy bear candies.

Stevens is an advocate of the "gummy bears" because he said he believes they look and feel more like natural breasts. He insisted that "gummy bears" are also safer than other types of implants because they have a lower rupture rate.

These new "high-strength silicone gel implants" made by a company called Sientra were approved in March by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But neither the agency nor the company call them "gummy bears."

"We do not condone the use of such terms," Sientra CEO Hani Zeini told Nightline via email.

Zeini said equating a medical device to a piece of candy trivializes it, and FDA officials are inclined to agree.

Breasts are big business in the United States, with about $1 billion spent on cosmetic breast surgery a year. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 300,000 American women undergo cosmetic breast augmentation every year -- up 45 percent since 2000.

Improvements in breast implant technology have had a huge impact on the market in the past. Over the past 15 years, since silicone implants became widely available in the U.S., the number of cosmetic procedures has tripled.

For years, this type of high-strength silicone gel breast implant was only available to patients in the U.S. who were willing to take part in clinical trials through surgeons like Stevens.

For some patients, it's their second breast augmentation surgery. Aubrie Chacon said she wanted to get her breast implants redone because her current ones felt like "weird water" under her skin.

"I would like something that felt more natural," she said. "Not so fake, not so foreign."

Christy Carlton, another one of Stevens's patients, said she got her Sientra breast implants through a clinical trial six years ago, and hasn't had any problems since. She added that her partner didn't know that she had breast augmentation surgery until she told him because she said her breasts looked and felt so natural.

But breast surgery is a sensitive subject. In most cases, it's totally elective and, of course, it is closely tied to the patient's self image. Plus, when any new product is introduced, there is a real issue of safety and there have been problems in the past.

Europe is in the midst of a full scale recall of breast implants manufactured by the French company Poly Implant Prothese. Some of PIP's silicone implants, which were never sold in the U.S., were found to contain industrial-grade silicone gel of the type used in mattresses. While the risk remains unclear, thousands of women around the world had to have their implants removed over concerns that PIP's implants tended to rupture and leak. The company's CEO is now in jail.

The FDA said it had no opinion on whether these Sientra implants are better or worse than the ones already on the market, and the agency said it did not conduct tests to compare different kinds of implants. But FDA officials told Nightline that Sientra's eight-year clinical trial with the Sientra implants, which tested the product on nearly 1,800 women, showed that the implants were safe and effective. Although Stevens swears by what he calls the "gummy bear" implants, other plastic surgeons don't. Dr. Garth Fischer is one of the top plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills and a consultant on the ABC TV show Extreme Makeovers. His clientele includes several celebrities -- he's the plastic surgeon Bruce Jenner turned to correct several bad face-lifts done by other surgeons. Fischer also fixed Lisa Rinna's lips.

Fischer said while he sees the benefits of the "gummy bears," he prefers the conventional round implants, and suggested that surgeons who don't have his skills may use the "gummy bears" as a crutch.

"'Gummy bears' have been around a long time," he said. "[But] I think some doctors need that shape maybe because they can't create it on their own."

Dr. Robin Yuan is another prominent Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and the author of Behind the Mask, Beneath the Glitter, a guide for patients considering a surgeon. He acknowledged that it can be confusing for patients, especially when doctors sell one technique over another, and patients have little basis to judge which approach is best for them.

"You can't say a Rolls Royce is better than a Ferrari," he said. "They're both cars that get you from A to B but they have different characteristics."

"I think there are very few patients who go to a neurosurgeon and ask what drill they're going to use to open their skull," Yuan said. "But they ask that of plastic surgeons. Most of the time, in other professions, they just trust the doctor to do what's appropriate in certain conditions."

Whether patients are considering the "gummy bears" or something else, the bottom line is to find a doctor you trust.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov232011

'Drunken Gummies' or 'Boozy Bears': Latest Teen Alcohol Craze

Hemera/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- This is not your average bear.

Colorful gummie bears are being transformed into "boozy bears" or "drunken gummies," alcohol-laden candies that kids as young as middle-school-aged may be eating right under their teachers' noses.

Florida health officials are warning schools about the latest craze -- kids soaking gummies in alcohol and bringing them to school in clear plastic bags.

Apparently the gummy "worms" work the best for the purpose. Officials from the Lake County Safe Climate Coalition, a nonprofit group that targets youth substance abuse, have experimented themselves.

"Of course, we tried it," said the group's executive director, Debi MacIntyre. "You lay a couple of them in the bottom of a pan and the alcohol is gone by morning. They are long and skinny, and they actually plump up quite big."

These clandestine treats have been reported in New York and Nebraska, as well.

Two Florida teens told ABC News' Fort Myers, Fla., affiliate, WZVN, also known as ABC News-7, that drunken gummies are the latest trend in hiding alcohol use.

"I have to say they're pretty good," said Adam, 17.

"If [my parents] saw gummies in my backpack, I think they'd think, 'Oh, that's nice,' and not think anything of it," echoed Sarah, 17.

"It has a kick to it because of the alcohol, and it's fruity also," she said. "It's good. It would be better than taking a shot because shots just go down gross. So you just take a handful of gummies."

Cape Coral, Fla., police have also been warning parents about the candies, which are potent enough to make a child or teen drunk. One officer ate the gummies for one hour and was too drunk to drive, according to WZVN.

Numerous websites offer instructions on how to prepare the boozy candies: Put them in a flat cake pan and fill with alcohol. It absorbs within 24 hours, expanding the little bears to twice their size. Vodka gummy bears even have their own Facebook page.

The craze before vodka gummies were alcohol-laden energy drinks packed in juice boxes imported from Puerto Rico.

Teens are always finding new ways to surreptitiously engage in drinking, according to experts.

"Alcohol is such a rite of passage," said MacIntyre. "I have never seen a county so embedded in alcohol -- every function has alcohol in the middle of it."

At one time, Lake County was the sixth-top-county for underage drinking in Florida, but the coalition's prevention efforts pushed it down to 29th.

A 2011 public health report from the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University revealed nine out of 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction began smoking, drinking or using other drugs before the age of 18.

Addiction is a "disease of adolescent origins," according to its report, and 72.5 percent of all high school students have consumed alcohol.

Susan Pitman, executive director of Safe and Healthy Duval County Coalition in Jacksonville, Fla., said the group's research shows that the vodka gummy bear craze was being reported on low-level blogs as far back as 2009.

"But now it's gone viral," she said. "We went to the Deval County Schools and opened up a Ziploc bag and they smelled them and said, 'Oh my gosh. We had no idea.'"

Most school officials "won't admit" the trend yet, according to Pitman.

"There is wide-spread use among the kids," she said. "We have a youth coalition and they say, 'Yeah, people are doing it right in front of teachers and parents.'"

In Florida, schools are required by law to report incidents of alcohol use to a student resource officer, but most administrators prefer to handle them internally.

"A bunch of cases could be quietly handled by administrators," she said. "We are a prevention organization and stay on top of the trends and figure out strategic ways to change behavior on the front end, rather than be punitive and be reactive at the back end."

Both Lake and Duval counties are targeting retailers who put ping-pong balls next to beer [for beer pong games] and asking their youth groups to notice the ways that alcohol retailers encourage the young to drink. In one project, they asked the groups to visit local fairs and report how alcohol is being used or abused.

Research on teens reveals that their frontal lobes -- the part of the brain that controls executive decision making and impulse control -- are not yet fully developed, making them prone to poor choices.

"Weighing the pros and cons and seeking solutions are beyond their capacity," said Pitman. "They are not bad or stupid -- they are just not able to do it yet. I look back to my teens. They think they are invincible."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio