Stephen McCulley, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. MBChb, FCS(SA)Plast, FRCS(plast)

Silicone Sling Breast Surgery – The New Boob Job?

Over the past couple of months the papers have been full of reports of the ‘new boob job’ – a silicone ‘sling’ which is inserted underneath the breast to prevent sagging. It works in a similar way to a push up bra, except instead of the push up mechanism being on the outside of the body, it’s actually inserted under the skin.

We take a closer look at the benefits and risks of this revolutionary new cosmetic surgery.

 

What is it?

 

Orbix Medical is the company behind the technology which is designed to lift up the breasts, without fitting implants and works like an ‘internal bra’. During this procedure:

  • A silicone sheet is inserted at the bottom of the breast, beneath the skin but above the breast tissue
  • Silk threads attach to the silicone sheet
  • These are then screwed to the side of the ribcage with titanium screws

This differs dramatically from a traditional silicone implant where the implant is inserted behind the breast tissue. The procedure is designed to offer patients a more permanent breast lift. Despite being cited in many publications as the ‘new boob job’ this procedure is not performed as an alternative to a breast augmentation but as a way to prevent future sagging of the breasts after a breast lift or reduction.

 

What are the benefits?

 

After having a breast reduction or uplift, some people find that the breasts can begin to sag again over time and the results of the original surgery are compromised. The main benefit of the silicone sling procedure is that it prevents sagging after these operations and maintains the new shape of the breast for longer. A successful procedure will result in minimal scarring and the procedure only takes around 45 minutes to complete.

 new-cosmetic-surgery

 

What are the risks associated with this type of surgery?

 

As with any new type of procedure, extensive medical trials need to be done before a conclusion on the safety of the surgery can be reached. At this stage the side effects of this surgery are unsure; as of May 2014, only three women had gone through the procedure and a much larger clinical trial is needed to be able to draw a conclusive answer on whether the procedure is safe.

As this is a new type of surgery, the side effects are unclear. However, one of the main concerns around the safety of the surgery is whether the silk straps could increase the risk of scaring in the breast tissue and therefore change the shape of the breast in the long term. Introducing any foreign material into the body increases the risk of infection and hardening around the material. There are similar options where mesh is inserted under the skin, rather than a silicone sling, these alternatives also require much more research and trials as, although they have shown to provide good results, there is always the risk of long term problems.

 

Although Stephen McCulley can offer this procedure, he currently chooses not to until the long term safety of the surgery is clearer.

 

 

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