There may be some uplifting news for women with sagging breasts. The days of spending money on bras with support and traditional breast implants could be limited as British plastic surgeons have now devised a way to implant a bra under the skin. In the UK, the Orbix Breast Support System, dubbed the “internal bra,” uses fine silk straps attached to the ribcage along with silicone cups to combat sagging breasts. The procedure has already been performed on three British women.
“[Ten] patients are taking part in a clinical trial at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, of the Orbix Breast Support System run by Mr. Jian Farhadi, consultant plastic surgeon at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust," Guy's and St Thomas' told Elle magazine. "This trial is the first time the Orbix Breast Support System has been used in the UK. It is approved and in use in some European countries." Farhadi is the plastic surgeon who carried out the first three trial operations last week, and he firmly believes this could become a solution for sagging breasts.
Typically, in a standard breast operation, the silicone implants are inserted behind the breast to minimize the risk of complications. However, with the internal bra, the cups go under the skin, sparking the question: Will women develop scaring, and will it affect the shape of the breast in the long term? Plastic surgeons who devised the procedure claim women will not have to worry about those leaks seen in traditional breast implants that could jeopardize their health. Saline and silicone breast implants are prone to breaking during the first few months, but the older the implant, the more likely it is to break, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Internal bra researchers still need to review any possible side effects for patients who get the procedure. Although the new operation, which has been under development since 2007, is viewed as “exciting,” medical experts like Professor Kefah Mokbel of the London Breast Institute believe caution should be taken. “We don't know the long-term side effects yet. There is a need for clinical trials with adequate numbers and follow ups to prove the efficacy and safety in the long term. It is very important,” Kefah told the Daily Mail. “One of the things to be looked into is if fixing silk straps to the ribs will have side effects.”
The internal bra implant is not for all women. It’s being implanted in women with large breasts who want support, not for women with small breasts who want a breast augmentation. However, not all women with saggy breasts can get the procedure done. It is only intended to address sagging breasts with very little scarring. So can the “revolutionary new operation,” as coined by the Daily Mail, really work for women who struggle with saggy breasts?
“[M]any women with saggy breasts do not just need their breast tissue lifting, they require surgery to address their skin,” Mokbel said. “'If a patient has had a proper breast lift and is concerned about the occurrence of sagging, this operation could prove effective.” However, it is unlikely to be effective on its own.
Minus the fine silk straps, the internal bra procedure is more of a breast implant, since the hardened silicone cups are implanted under the breast issue. The average cost of a breast lift is $4,207, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, while the internal bra is about $1,500 more expensive, and only keeps breasts from sagging for 10 years as opposed to five.
The device has CE marking, which complies with the European Union’s safety, health, and environmental requirements, but this only refers to the safety of the materials itself in the actual product. The internal bra will undergo FDA review later this year.