Breast surgery, including reductions, lifts, and implant revision surgery is a big part of many plastic surgery practices. The most common cause for breast reductions and lifts is the excess weight in the breasts and associated sagging, technically known as ptosis. Many factors including pregnancy, breast-feeding, and weight gain and loss, can have an impact on your breasts. In addition, many women with breast implants look to plastic surgeons to correct implant related problems, such as “bottoming-out” especially if you had large or heavy implants.
When you need additional support to hold up your breasts…
Dr. Brad Bengtson a board certified plastic surgeon from Grand Rapids, Michigan often uses surgical scaffolds to support the soft tissue in his breast lift and implant revision procedures. “There are several scaffolds on the market and each one has slightly different properties. GalaFLEX® is a resorbable microfilament and SERI™ Surgical Scaffold is a silk-derived product, both are eventually replaced by your own tissue and absorbed. SERI™ Scaffold is very good for deep support, or implant malposition repairs and those kinds of things. What I like about GalaFLEX® is that being a monofilament or without braids and weaves in it, there’s a little bit less material but it’s equally strong.” Dr. Bengtson says his practice is about 25 percent breast implant revision, and in these types of surgeries, many of the patients require additional internal support to hold up their breasts.
“For larger breasts undergoing a lifts or a reduction, or in patients with large breast implants, it really unloads the skin and that’s the long term benefit,” states Bengtson. “Without the GalaFLEX®, there’s a lack of support and the lower breast stretches and bottoms out over time.”
Dr. Caroline Glicksman, a board certified plastic surgeon from Sea Girt, New Jersey, specializes in breast surgery including reductions, lifts, and breast augmentation. She has used these scaffolds for many difficult reduction or breast lift procedures. “These materials can provide strong, long-lasting support especially for women who have poor quality skin after weight loss or multiple pregnancies,” says Glicksman. The GalaFLEX® scaffold eventually breaks down and becomes part of the patient’s own tissue in about 9 months to a year. “The clinical studies have shown us that at one year of follow up with ultrasound and mammogram, there’s no visibility of the product. It has integrated well into the tissues and is usually not detected by the radiologist.”
Breast Lift Results Measured with State-of-the-Art Technology
“The other thing we’re doing that’s really exciting with the Vectra 3D imaging is that we can bring a virtual cut right through the nipple plane and we can measure the percent of breast tissue above and below that plane,” says Bengtson. These measurements can then be repeated after surgery to evaluate how long the lift maintains its post-operative result.
“Classically with breast reduction patients or mastopexy patients, the results are dependent on the weight of the breast and the skin stretch over time. These internal supports seem to give us much longer lasting outcomes,” says Glicksman.
Surgical scaffolds are now being used more and more to optimize a patient’s augmentation, reduction, and lift results by improving not only the shape of the breasts but the position and the long-term outcomes. “Whoever controls the lower pole of the breast – controls the outcome,” says Bengtson.