Surgeons Outside of the United States Offering a Risky Procedure to Enhance and Lift Breasts
Many women turn to cosmetic surgery to improve the appearance of sagging breasts or to enhance their chest with silicone breast implants. There is a new alternative surgery to the traditional breast lift or augmentation being offered in Europe, Asia, and South Africa called Breform. However, this surgical option is not FDA approved and not currently available in the United States. Lets look at this potentially problematic surgery.
What Is Breform?
Breform is a non-absorbable mesh implant that is made out of polyester. It is used in breast augmentation and mastopexy (breast lifting) surgery. This mesh implant is sometimes described as an internal bra because it is used to shape and lift the breast and because it resembles the cup of a traditional bra. Breform is placed over existing breast tissue, with or without a concurrent reduction, to support sagging breasts. In some cases, this surgical procedure can be performed through an incision around the areola theoretically resulting in less noticeable scarring than a traditional vertical scar (lollipop) or Wise Pattern (anchor shaped scar) breast lift.
How Does Breform Work?
The pre-formed Breform cup is inserted between the breast tissue and the breast skin. It is attached to anchoring points to provide support from above and it is conformed to the breast tissue . Although in some cases there may be a scar similar to what is used in a traditional breast lift, this scar is not what holds the breast in place. The Breform implant actually fuses with breast tissue for a permanent lift. Theoretically, this puts less strain on scar tissue for less chance of stretching.
However the risk for placing a permanent mesh is that once it is incorporated into the breast tissue it can be extremely difficult to remove. If it attaches incorrectly, this can result in a permanently deformed breast.
Breform Procedural Risks
Having Breform implanted has a number of other potential risks:
Irregularity of contour
Contraction of the Breast tissue
Interference with breast cancer screening
Unknown long term effects
In addition, cosmetic breast surgery of any type carries the risk of uneven breasts, numbness in the breasts and nipples, excessive scarring due to healing issues, and unhappiness with the results..
Although the company reports no serious adverse complications, there have been individual reports of patient dissatisfaction. As the Breform molds into breast tissue, there is the risk of the development of hard, fibrous lumps. It is important to note that Breform was developed using a surgical mesh utilized for decades in other surgical procedures. Long-term results of these applications have shown to have some harmful consequences. Polyester surgical mesh can lead to adhesions, perforations, and blockage of blood flow. Patients should use caution if offered this device and consult an American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), Board Certified physician.
Are There Safe Alternatives to Breform?
While the concept of an internal bra makes a good deal of sense, using a permanent material may not be the best option. Looking to the future there are a number of biocompatible implant meshes that can allow for the safe creation of an internal bra. A new promising device called Seri from Allergan has recently been FDA approved for just such a purpose. This material is and made of an absorbable silk and has been shown to support breast tissue while stimulating the growth of the body’s own collagen. Seri completely dissolves in about one year leaving behind a supple but supportive tissue. Seri can be used for a number of purposes including breast reconstruction after mastectomy, revision breast augmentation, correction of implant bottoming out, fold malpositioning, and breast lift surgery. For more information about breast surgery, including the Seri mesh, contact Dr. Khorsandi at VIP Plastic Surgery.