A new procedure promises to lift and support women's breasts with better-lasting results than traditional methods. The Orbix Breast Support System uses thin silicone straps attached to the ribs to provide support. Orbix says the technique "eliminates breast re-sagging and minimizes scarring."
Breasts often begin to dip between the ages of 35 and 40, and the process can be accelerated by weight-gain and breastfeeding. Although often deemed an exercise in vanity, breast lift procedures can have a positive mental effect on patients.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the number of breast lift procedures are growing at twice the rate of breast implant procedures and have increased by 70 percent since 2000. The ASPS says that over 90,000 breast lift procedures were carried out by its practitioners alone in 2013.
Despite this, CEO of Orbix Yossi Mazel says that existing breast lift procedures will often not stop the breast from beginning to sag again afterwards. Mazel says that the new approach by Orbix can stop this.
"The device is an internal support to the breasts," he explains. "What essentially is holding the breasts in position is the skin, but the skin loses its elasticity over time and the breasts gravitate downwards."
Traditional approaches rely on the newly "lifted" skin to support the breasts, which can begin to sag again as the skin continues to lose elasticity. In contrast, the Orbix Breast Support System uses a silicone strap that is attached at each end to two places on one of the patient's ribs, supporting each breast "like a hammock" or "internal bra".
Mazel explains that the idea was invented by a plastic surgeon who wanted to overcome the disappointment from patients of traditional procedures with unsustainable results. The lengthy development procedure looked at what materials would be appropriate, what different forces act upon the breasts that the device must withstand (such as walking, running, and playing sports), and what strength of material is required to ensure it can manage those forces for many years.
In addition to longer-lasting results that help to maintain the shape of the breast for many years, Orbix claims that its Support System shows better healing and reduced scarring compared to traditional procedures. It also says that the procedure is easy for existing practitioners to carry out and that it should last indefinitely without detriment, although checkups are advised every five years.
The first clinical trials, carried out by Prof. Mustafa Hamdi, were held in Belgium during 2009. Since then, over 50 procedures have been carried out in Europe, with patients in Germany, Sweden, UK, Israel, and France. The product has gained the CE mark for its sale in Europe and the commercial rollout has begun in a handful of countries. In the UK, highly regarded plastic surgeon Jian Farhadi is carrying out the first procedures.
Mazel reports high levels of satisfaction amongst patients who have already undergone the procedure, though some medical experts have urged caution and called for further trials to assess any potential long-term side-effects.
"CE marking only refers to the safety in the sense of the materials itself, the actual product," Professor Kefah Mokbel of the London Breast Institute told the MailOnline. "But it does not mean the procedure is safe. Yes, this procedure is exciting but we must look at its efficacy and safety in the long term."