Women who desire a mommy-makeover, have had major weight loss, or are unhappy with the toll age has taken on their breasts can breathe easier.
An innovative procedure to correct severely deflated, sagging breasts left looking like "pancakes" will be presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2008 conference, Oct. 31 – Nov. 5, in Chicago. The procedure corrects misshapen breasts by lifting and restoring them to a more natural, full shape and position without the use of breast implants.
"In the past several years I've seen more women in their 50s who are unhappy with their breasts," said Dennis Hurwitz, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and course instructor. "These women have had numerous pregnancies, waited later in life to have children, lost a lot of weight, or simply haven't aged well and want to restore their figure. The breast irregularities these patients share are unique. These are extreme cases – not your 'run of the mill' augmentation patients who simply want to enlarge their breasts from an A to C cup."
The procedure presented at Plastic Surgery 2008 uses unwanted tissue and fat from the patient's tummy, along the bra line, or beneath the upper arm, shapes it into a breast mound and secures it with absorbable sutures into a tissue sheet that acts like a sling to hold the flap into position. This "spiral flap" is mobile enough to permit artistry in shaping, positioning and enlarging the breast. According to Dr. Hurwitz, the breasts are not only enlarged and better-shaped; they are soft and shift naturally with changes in body position. Patients also get the dual benefit of body contouring.
Currently, the majority of these patients are treated with conventional breast surgery, generally with less patient satisfaction. However, the "spiral flap" technique should not be substituted for standard breast implant augmentation, augmentation with breast lift, or breast reduction in all patients. While the procedure may be an option for a small percentage of women (post-pregnancy or as a result of aging) with extremely flattened chests who have ample excess skin around their mid torso, the majority treated with this technique are massive weight loss patients.
"For these women, so much volume and skin elasticity is gone that a basic breast augmentation or lift just doesn't produce optimal results," said Dr. Hurwitz. "By using the patients own tissue, they get a more natural augmentation with the dual benefit of body contouring."
Nearly 348,000 breast augmentations were performed in 2007, making it the number one cosmetic plastic surgery procedure last year, according to ASPS statistics. In addition, more than 106,000 breast reductions and 104,000 breast lifts were performed last year.
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