If you’re faced with having a mastectomy and considering breast reconstruction or a breast lift with implants to restore shape and size after pregnancy, then you should know about a procedure called an internal bra. Dr. Richard Baxter, an expert in breast reconstruction says the problem is that all breast lifts tend to lose fullness in the upper portion of the breast over time. “Most breast lifts, otherwise known as a mastopexy, depend on the skin envelope to shape and hold the breast, and the skin isn’t always up to the task,” says Baxter.
By Richard A. Baxter, MD
and Carolynn Grimes
The Living Internal Bra
Dr. Baxter uses a biologic material that becomes living tissue to create a “living” internal bra to support implants. He says, although the idea has been around for a while, over the past 10 years or so it has really changed how plastic surgeons perform reconstruction as well as a range of breast surgery procedures. “Prior to that, finding a suitable material to use was elusive. Synthetic materials could pose problems, so the solution turned out to be a biologic matrix that actually becomes living tissue: a living internal bra,” says Baxter.
Baxter explains that the material used in an internal bra is called an “acellular dermal matrix,” or ADM. He says ADM is essentially the material that skin is made of, without the cells. Baxter says because the tissue matrix is made up of mostly collagen and is identical in everyone, it can be transplanted. “It then acts as a scaffold for your own cells to move in and populate it; your own blood vessels grow in, and become your own tissue,” says Baxter.
Revision Breast Surgery
One area where the use of ADM’s has transformed patient care is in breast reconstruction. “When combined with the increasing acceptance of what is called a skin-sparing mastectomy, immediate breast reconstruction is now becoming routine with an ADM internal bra to support an implant. Results from this operation may even be better than what is called “breast-conserving” treatment which is a lumpectomy and radiation therapy, which can leave the breast hardened and indented where the tumor was removed,” states Baxter.
Another important application of ADM’s, is in revision breast surgery using a product called Stattice. “Problems such as implant malposition – too low, too far to the side – and a range of other issues can be nicely corrected with a Strattice internal bra,” says Baxter. The beauty of a product like Strattice is that it can help conceal visible implant rippling and is completely natural.