In standard breast lift surgery, also referred to as mastopexy, the saggy appearance is corrected by reshaping the skin and deeper tissue. At the same time, the nipple is repositioned near the center of the breast mound to achieve a more balanced, youthful appearance.
Today’s plastic surgeons go deeper into the breast structure because a skin-only lift leads to a short-lived result, in addition to higher risk of poor or wide scarring because of the significant tension on the skin.
Aside from going into the deeper layers of the breast, some doctors also believe that using an internal bra at the time of surgery can give a longer-lasting, stronger support for women.
The term internal bra may have different meaning from each doctor. Some use it to describe a technique wherein the deeper layers of the breast are hold in place by sutures, preventing the recurrence of sagging or bottomed-out appearance in which the lower breast pole looks excessively full, while the upper cleavage looks deflated or “empty.”
On the other hand, some surgeons use the term internal bra to specifically refer to a technique in which a thin silicone sheet is inserted between the patient’s skin and tissue. The device is then supported by biocompatible silk threads that have titanium anchors attached to the rib cage.
Proponents of the new technology, called Orbix Breast Supporting System, say it provides a strong lifting effect the same way as a push-up bra holding up the breast mound.
Despite the use of silicone sheet, the new technology does not increase the bust size the same way as the breast implant.
As of this writing, Orbix is still under clinical trial in the US. However, the device has been already approved for commercial use in Europe, with studies suggesting that it provides high patient satisfaction.
Nevertheless, some doctors are skeptical, saying that the currently available biological materials such as strattice, which is derived from swine skin, can provide the same lifting effect.
Strattice is particularly popular in cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery because it does not cause allergic reaction. The cells in the pig’s skin is removed, leaving only the main structure to allow the patient’s own cells and blood supply to grow inside the material.
With so many technologies and techniques claiming to deliver longer breast lift results, leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili says the skills of a doctor still remains the most important factor that delivers good cosmetic outcome.