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Internal bra for breast support: Innovative or ill-advised?

Article-Internal bra for breast support: Innovative or ill-advised?

When "Elle" magazine publishes a news story about an “innovative” new breast lifting technique in the UK that uses silk straps and screws under the skin to create an internal bra, you can bet your patients are paying attention, which means, you may want to too.

The Elle story references UK news powerhouse DailyMail’s story, “The under-the-SKIN bra: Op stops sagging – using cups and straps screwed into a woman’s ribs.” 

Thanks to the consumer-audience target, phrases like “boob job,” “fine silk straps,” “revolutionary new operation,” “combat sagging breasts, and “go bra-less,” stand to make the prospect of this technique desirable—and possibly misunderstood.

Side effects, especially with the silk straps, as yet are not understood, and experts are calling for long-term research. As Professor Kefah Mokbel, London Breast Institute, told MailOnline, “There is a need for clinical trials with adequate numbers and follow ups to prove the efficacy and safety in the long term.”

“These cups go under the skin, so the question is do we know the long-term effect to women, will they develop scaring and will the internal bra affect the shape of the breast in the long term? It is premature to say it is a solution to the issue of sagging breasts.”

Professor Mokbel also points out that the solution for sagging breasts isn’t always simply lifting. If, however, it were a supplement to a surgical breast lift, it could be an effective add-on.

New York City-based plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman agrees. “Without external incisions and tailoring of the breast skin, there will still be unsightly excess skin and also nipple malposition. It is the equivalent of placing large breasts in a small push-up bra. The breasts may be lifted, but do not always look better.”

But more importantly, according to Dr. Schulman, not only is this technique not unique, it’s also potentially dangerous.

“We routinely reshape the breast tissue and even place internal sutures to help support the breast. This helps to take the pressure off the skin envelope which has already proven to be inadequate in supporting a heavy breast—which is why they drooped in the first place,” he says.

The Orbix Breast Support System (Orbix Medical), which is commercially available in Europe, is being marketed to breast surgery patients as a way to reduce scarring after breast reduction surgery and to preserve breast shape after breast lift surgery. According to the company’s website, the system inserts a sling under the breast and fastens it to the ribs using special bone anchors they say are made of “highly biocompatible titanium.” The sling is then raised and secured to bone to lift and support the breast tissue. The new device has CE marking, which means that it complies with EU safety, health and environmental requirements. This mark applies to the product only.

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